Heritage Day is a South African public holiday celebrated on 24 September. On this day, South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people.
South Africans celebrate Heritage Day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. Various events are staged throughout the country to commemorate this.
Former Western Cape Provincial Premier Ebrahim Rasool addressed the public at a Heritage Day celebration at the Gugulethu Heritage trail in 2007 in Gugulethu. In Hout Bay, there is an army procession and a recreation of the battle fought there.
In 2005, a media campaign sought to “re-brand” the holiday as National Braai Day, in recognition of the South African culinary tradition of holding informal backyard barbecues, or braais.
On 5 September 2007, Archbishop Desmond Tutu celebrated his appointment as patron of South Africa’s Braai (Barbecue) Day, affirming it to be a unifying force in a divided country (by donning an apron and tucking into a boerewors sausage). At the end of 2007 National Braai Day changed its name to Braai4Heritage and the initiative received the endorsement of South Africa’s National Heritage Council (NHC).
Organiser Jan Scannell (known as “Jan Braai”) announced that the aim is not to have a mass braai, but with little ones, friends and family. Some have commented that this is a ploy to make people forget the history and the original meaning of why the day was created.