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a look at what we celebrate on heritage day


Article by Thato

Heritage day is the day in which all South African citizens are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions in the context of the great diverse cultures, beliefs and traditions that make up the nation of South Africa. 

It is a South African public holiday, set to honour the customs and traditions of all South Africans. The 24th of September serves as a reminder that the nation belongs to its entire people.

Heritage refers to the principles that one is taught by family or society, the honour and pride that comes to one by birth and through inheritance and that needs to be preserved despite the changing perceptions of globalisation.

Heritage is identity. It is what defines people, their shared values, principles and commonalities. Heritage is a common practise that comes naturally to human behaviour such as Ubuntu.

Culture and heritage should not be celebrated only in one day as it is expressed in the way we live, the way we dress, through our interactions and in the food, we eat. 

Despite the differences amongst south Africans, our country has a strong sense of unity around long-standing traditions. 

When people talk about heritage, they might be referring to anything such as the famous “Mogodu dish” to the “Seshweshwe” fabric and the famous “Sanamarena blanket. 

Modern-day society has downplayed the importance of expressing our heritage beyond heritage day. There are limited platforms where young people interact with their grand to great-grand parents so that indigenous knowledge and teachings passes to them. 

African Culture is at risk of being influenced by other practises, because of globalisation. Cultural identify is becoming outdated.  

Heritage day gives a great opportunity for South Africans to put politics aside and come together to celebrate the county’s history and diversity. 

When our first democratically-elected government decided to make the day a national day, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation” – Nelson Mandela

 Heritage should be a matter of national interest as it ranks up there with the national flag and lives within our National anthem thus should be respected, practised and preserved at all times.

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