Time to reflect as SA celebrates its 21st Heritage Day

This year on the 24th September, South Africa will be celebrating its 21st official National Heritage Day since 1996 after being declared a National Day and public holiday by the democratic government. The main celebration will be held in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga.  Many other activities will be taking place in different Provinces. The National Heritage Council wishes all the citizens and visitors from other parts of the world a happy 21st Heritage Day.

“It is a landmark year for the country to reflect on the successes and the challenges in this grossly undervalued sector of heritage and culture. Mainly also to take stock of whether we are achieving what the country had set itself to achieve just over two decades ago”, says Advocate Mancotywa, the CEO of the National Heritage Council.


In the Eastern Cape, the NHC will be part of unveiling the Engcobo Heroes Park that will honour leaders from this community that includes Dr A B Xuma, Walter Sisulu and eighty-eight (88) others whose names will be inscribed on the memorial. The unveiling ceremony on 21 September 2017 at 10h00 will be followed by a Memorial Lecture that will be delivered by Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa from 11h00. The Engcobo Heroes Park is in Engcobo town along the R58 road to Elliot.

On 22 September 2017, Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa will hand over the manuscript on Clarkebury at a ceremony where provincial Heritage Day celebrations will be held in Moshi Traditional Council (Clarkebury, Dalindyebo region).

On 23 September 2017, Mancotywa will be speaking at the Qolora By Sea Secondary School from 10h00 where the Municipality and Traditional Council will be celebrating heritage with the community and the Nkonki family.

This year’s theme of Celebrating our Liberation Heritage while we also celebrate the centenary of O R Tambo is very important to the Council because liberation heritage was an unchartered territory in the heritage sector. The highlight was when liberation struggle was recognised as being of universal value and significance at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 33rd general conference in October 2005. The Council believes that Heritage is the output and bearer of Tourism because of the economic value that the sites can unlock in tourism, infrastructure and job creation.

The Council acknowledges that over the past 13 years of its existence, the challenges were greater but remarkable successes were also recorded. More can still be done and should be done.

The challenges that the sector has experienced include the shortage of funding, few young heritage professionals, protection of intellectual property, and a slow pace of research and knowledge production.

The evident milestones over the past years include an increased public interest, access to heritage destinations and resources, more declared cultural heritage sites, a higher participation of community organised projects. All these translate to a growing pride among South Africans.

It is important for the country to take stock of the progress that we have made in protecting, preserving and promoting our people’s heritage and culture. This assessment, that need to include the public views, is critical for the country to consider in crafting a future for heritage. It is for this reason that the NHC is bringing together the business community to take a more active role in the heritage of the country. The freedom struggles communities, role players and interested parties will also be consulted on how best South Africa can protect its liberation heritage from disappearing with its rich history – especially the undocumented part.


The NHC can be reached on heritage@nhc.org.za for any public views on the future of our heritage.

Issued by: The National Heritage Council (NHC) of South Africa

Contact: Danny Goulkan (Communications Manager)

012 348 1663/ 072 952 2260/ danny@nhc.org.za


Interview enquiries: Ms Linda Shilakwe

012 348 1663/ l.shilakwe@nhc.org.za



About the National Heritage Council of South Africa:

The National Heritage Council (NHC) is a government institution that is responsible for the preservation and promotion of the country’s heritage. The key areas that the NHC focuses on are policy development for the sector to meet its transformation goals, public awareness and education, knowledge production in heritage subjects that were previously neglected, as well as making funding available to projects that place heritage as a socio-economic resource.

A Schedule 3A public entity that came into existence through an amendment of the Cultural Laws Second Amendment Act 69 of 2001, was officially constituted through the National Heritage Council Act 11 of 1999, assented to on 14 April 1999 and officially proclaimed on 26 February 2004.

Our key projects are:

• Funding

• Resistance & Liberation Heritage Route

• Golden Shield Heritage Awards

• Heritage Education Schools Outreach Programme – (HESOP)

• Research & Knowledge Production

Previous Gosha Winners

Quick links


353 Festival Street
1st Floor Hatfield
South Africa

Latitude: -25.7482731

Longitude: -28.2321192

National Heritage Council©2022.
All Rights Reserved
Connect With Us