The South African province of KwaZulu Natal celebrated Shaka Day on the 24th of September every year. It was a day to honour the Zulu warrior for uniting the Zulu nation. Post-independence Public Holidays Bill did not include the holiday so the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) a political party with majority Zulu membership objected to the bill. It was then agreed to make the 24th a holiday but Heritage Day instead of Shaka Day to cater for all South Africans and not only the Zulu.
Heritage Day is the day the Rainbow Nation takes pride in its traditional and cultural diversity. The holiday encourages all South Africans to celebrate the rich cultural heritage and beliefs. It aims to bring all South Africans from all walks of life together as one embracing their different races, tribes, colour and creed. At one Heritage Day speech, the late global peace icon Nelson Mandela said, “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”
Today, the holiday is also known as National Braai Day.
“The National Braai Day initiative aims to position National Heritage Day as South Africa’s annual day celebration. We call on all South Africans to unite around fires, share our heritage and wave our flag on 24 September.”
Happy National Braai Day South Africa.