Heritage Day is a public holiday celebrated each year on the 24th of September. South Africans get to celebrate the diversity of culture, beliefs, traditions etc. in their own way.
Historically the day was known as ‘Shaka Day’ commemorating the founder of the Zulu Nation . The date was chosen on the supposed date of his death in 1828 (born 1787).
Shaka brought the hitherto informally organised Nguni clans together in the area, which is present day KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The unifying rulership of Shaka brought immediate growth and land acquisition to the Zulu Nation due mainly to his refining of military methodologies. Shaka is historically considered to be a military genius; much controversy however surrounds the brutality of his methodologies, including austerity with which he trained his troops. However, in many ways, he was far ahead of his time as he improved warfare methods. Briefly his primary “improvements” to warfare were:
Shaka Zulu Series Clip
However, in post-apartheid 1996 when ‘Shaka Day’ was excluded from the list of proposed public holidays, the ‘Inkatha Freedom Party’ (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, objected to the exclusion. The South African Parliament eventually reached a compromise, and the day was given its present title, Heritage Day, and accepted as a public holiday. The compromise was that all peoples of the diverse nation should embrace their culture and celebrate it on this day as they see fit. Many people wear traditional clothing on the day. In 2005 a media campaign was started promoting the idea of what unifies all the people of the country, what touches on all the cultures and traditions of the country… The ‘Braai’ (BBQ)! The day is nowadays colloquially referred to as ‘National Braai Day’. The traditional BBQ (Braai) is seen as a unifying influence in a diverse nation, people are encouraged to Braai (BBQ) and celebrate their differences often wearing traditional clothing. The day is celebrated in Spring (Southern Hemisphere) which works just perfectly for a lekker braai (a yummy BBQ)…
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