Not many people understand the real significance of or meaning behind Heritage Day which is celebrated annually on 24 September. For some, it is an opportunity to simply get together with family and friends for a braai, but does this take into account the multitude of cultures that make up our “rainbow nation”?
What is Heritage Day?
Heritage Day is a national holiday where all South Africans celebrate their cultural heritage and embrace their diverse traditions and values that contribute to our “rainbow nation”.
Dr Ntsoakae Phatlane from Unisa’s History Department shares his thoughts on what Heritage Day means to him:
“Our heritage is very unique and precious because it helps us to define our cultural identity and it therefore lies at the heart of our spiritual wellbeing and it has the power to build our nation. Our heritage has the potential to affirm our diverse cultures and in so doing shape our national character as a “rainbow nation” at peace with itself. In short our heritage celebrates our achievements and contributes to redressing past inequities. It educates, it deepens our understanding of society while at the same time it encourages us to empathise with the experience of others. For a nation that has just been through apartheid, which had been declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations, the significance of heritage day cannot be overemphasised in that it facilitates healing.”
Please leave your comments below on what Heritage Day means to you.