14 Things to do on Heritage Day 2014

14 Things to do on Heritage Day 2014

Did you know that Heritage Day aka ‘Braai Day’ almost never happend? Yes, 24 September wasn’t included in the list of new proposed public holidays in a post-Apartheid South Africa.

How, then, did we end up with this holiday?

It all began in a pre-democratic KwaZulu-Natal (back then only known as ‘Natal’), when ‘Shaka Day’, which commemorated the legendary King Shaka Zulu, took place on 24 September. However, in 1996, when the new, democratic Public Holiday Bill had to be voted in, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) objected because ‘Shaka Day’ had been omitted. A compromise was eventually reached and, so, Heritage Day was born: a day when all South Africans are encouraged to celebrate our country’s diverse culture and rich heritage.

While most South Africans are likely light a fire and grill a choppie or chicken next Wednesday, there are many other things you can do to celebrate and explore our diverse culture and rich heritage. Here are 14 ideas to get you started:

1. VISIT A MUSEUM… FOR FREE! 

As part of Heritage Week (22 September – 28 September), Iziko Museums is giving free entrance to everyone – young or old – at their museums (note: the Planetarium and Castle of Good Hope is only free on Wednesday). So whether you’re from Langa, Lansdowne, Lavis or Llandudno, you don’t have an excuse to an explore and celebrate our country’s living legacies.

 

2. HAVE LUNCH AT MZOLI’S PLACE 

Set in the heart of Gugulethu, Mzoli’s is a great place where you can get a taste of township culture and a delicious braai-ed meal (Mzoli’s is famous for their meat braais #JustSaying). 

 

3. SIGN UP TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE 

Embracing and celebrating our diverse heritage can start with something as simple as learning to speak a different language. We’re signing up for Xhosa classes. You? 

4. ATTEND THE ARTSCAPE HERITAGE FESTIVAL 

If you have a penchant for the arts, then the dance, theater and musical performances at Artscape Theatre will take you on a journey that celebrates our rainbow nation in all its diverse glory. The festival runs from 18 September until 30 September. For more info, visit Artscape’s website.

 

5. WATCH ‘DIVERSITY’S SYMPHONY’ 

This 5-minute video will inspire you to not only see but also truly embrace and celebrate our country’s diverse culture and colourful heritage!

 

6. TAKE A TOWNSHIP TOUR… ON A BICYCLE 

Take a sightseeing tour of a different (more informative) kind with AWOL Bike Tours’ cycling excursions to the Masiphumelele township in Kommetjie. You’ll not only help empower the local community, but you will also meet people who you may never have otherwise.

7. LISTEN TO THE HERITAGE DAY CONCERT 

Unwind to the acclaimed (and free!) afro-fusion sounds of Mpho and Uvimba Band at the North Wharf Marina, V&A Waterfront at midday on Wednesday. In the words of Gloria Estefan, the (South African) rhythm is gonna get you! 

8. HIKE OUT OUR HERITAGE 

Did you know that Table Mountain is home to some 180 unique species of plants and animals – in other words, fauna and flora that aren’t found anywhere else in the country and world? Did you also know that Table Mountain National Park also holds some of the oldest cultural heritage buildings in our country? So, what are you waiting for? Soak up the rich heritage that right on our doorstep! 

9. READ ‘WHAT DIVERSITY SHOULD LOOK LIKE’

This easy, yet thought-provoking 2-minute read provides great insight to how differences make a community stronger. 

 

10. GO GREEN AND GOLD

No matter our beliefs – political or religious – very little things in this world have the unifying power as rugby (need we mention the 1995 Rugby World Cup?). And, almost serendipitously, the Bokke are taking on the Aussies at Newlands next Saturday 27 September – what better excuse to don green and gold while celebrating a sport that has had a significant impact in our democratic heritage? 

11. TALK A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

For Heritage Week (22 September – 27 September), Kirstenbosch is offering a two-hour guided walk through this UNESCO heritage site where you can learn all about its rich history. Walks will take place at 10am and 2pms and is absolutely free (Kirstenbosch entrance fee still applies). 

 

12. WATCH A MOVIE

Whether it’s The God’s Must Be Crazy, Sarafina, Invictus or Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, it films like these can freshly remind you of the journey we’ve walked as a country and the culture that makes us so unique. 

 

13. VISIT ROBBEN ISLAND 

Never been? Well, there’s no time like the present! Been before? Well, there are no rules against visiting again…

14. BRING AND BRAAI

Seems obvious, right? But why not you to invite someone you know who has a different cultural heritage along for a braai? Listen to their stories, share your story and make the circle bigger! 

We’d love to hear from you about what you are doing to celebrate Heritage Day! Please tell us by leaving a comment. 

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