Our Heritage

How we define heritage and culture

a) Definition of Heritage

“Heritage is what is preserved from the past as the living collective memory of a people not only to inform the present about the past but also to equip successive generations to fashion their future. It is what creates a sense of identity and assures rootedness and continuity, so that what is brought out by dynamism of culture is not changed for its own sake, but it is a result of people’s conscious choice to create a better life.”

b) Definition of Culture

“Culture is the sum total of what is produced collectively by a people’s creative genius. It is dynamic and it is always in motion. It is, therefore, always developing as a result of human action and interaction. Every society has a culture and at times a heterogeneous society like ours has several cultures. Some of these cultures are exploitive while others are liberating. All cultures have a material base and values which are reflective of a people’s creativity and uniqueness. They include tangible and the intangible”.

Quotes from Presidents

Days of historic significance

When South Africa became a democratic state in 1994, the new government decided that the history of the country should be proudly celebrated by all South Africans. Significant days of the calendar marking historic events and turning points in the struggle for liberation were declared public holidays. This was one of the efforts of the government of national unity to remind all its citizens of where the country has experienced to earn the democracy that is presently enjoyed by all. Other days were declared public holidays to give the citizens an opportunity to unite and build one nation.

The public holidays for celebration and commemoration that will always be part of the heritage of South Africa are:
21 March – Heritage Day
27 April – Freedom Day
1 May – Worker’s Day
25 May – Africa Day
16 June – Youth Day
9 August – Women’s Day
16 December – Reconciliation Day

Tip: The Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) dictates that when a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it will be a public holiday.

Historic Background

Our national holidays and their historic backgrounds.

10 ways to celebrate our Heritage

  1. Find out what is the theme for this years’ Heritage Day celebrations and where the nearest public event will be held.
  2. Explore and discover our country by visiting heritage sites, museums, zoo or an elderly in the family or community.
  3. Learn the story of our flag – Did you know that our flag is the third most recognised flag in the world? It is also certainly one of the most loved by its people. Show your true colours and fly our flag – be an ambassador for South Africa and fly our flag in thought, word and deed. Take time to find out more about our national symbols (….list them here…).
  4. Celebrate our successes and share your life story; we have a lot to be proud of – we continue to inspire the world to a new way of doing things, because our unique combinations create refreshing possibilities.
  5. Learn our anthem – We must be the only country to have a national anthem composed in five different languages. Our anthem, with its different languages and its different tunes, is a reflection of the diversity of our nation, and the words of each verse proudly proclaim the love we all have for this awesome country.
  6. Recognise the role our past has played in shaping what South Africa has become today – read up on the parts of our history that you don’t know or haven’t thought of since you were a child. Read the biographies of some of South Africa’s awesome heroes and heroines. Remember the challenges and celebrate the successes.
  7. Get together with friends, family and neighbours to share a traditional meal and a great conversation about the good old days. Share stories and knowledge about cultural practices, traditions, ‘feel good’ stories and jokes.
  8. Learn one more of our 12 languages, including Khoi San, or at least some greetings and exciting phrases. Explore the culture attached to it – learn more about the other races of the South African nation and open your eyes to the amazing diversity of South Africa’s people.
  9. Celebrate our progressive constitution – no other country in the world is blessed with a constitution like ours – it’s one of the most progressive in the world. You can celebrate and commemorate this by exercising your democratic rights and respecting the rights of others to begin with.
  10. Live “Ubuntu” – “I am because we are” – show hospitality and warmth to fellow countrymen and visitors alike.

Mostly, it is about togetherness and teamwork, attributes that have helped to build the rainbow nation and that will keep the rainbow intact for years to come.

World Heritage Sites of South Africa

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0028

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