Every year on September 24th, South Africans celebrate Heritage Day. During this public holiday, South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture. It’s also a day to spread awareness for the diversity of beliefs and traditions in South Africa.
The country of South Africa is located on the southernmost tip of the African continent. The country contains many different ecosystems. Some of these ecosystems include beaches, craggy cliffs, forests, and lagoons. Popular locations in South Africa include the Western Cape, the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town, and Table Mountain. The country is also home to a variety of wild animals. These animals include lions, elephants, rhinoceros, hyenas, leopards, and baboons.
Here are some more interesting facts about South Africa:
- The country has 11 official languages, some of which include isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Xitsonga, and English.
- In South Africa, the average age is 27, making it one of the world’s youngest populations.
- The country’s three capital cities include Cape Town, Pretoria, and Bloemfontein, each of which hosts a different branch of government.
- Cape Town is the location of the first-ever human heart transplant, which occurred in 1967.
- The country is home to the world’s largest diamond, which is over 3,000 carats and weighs 1.3 pounds.
It’s the only country to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons program. Sadly, South Africa has one of the highest HIV rates in the world. It’s also a country that has one of the world’s highest levels of income inequality.
HOW TO OBSERVE #HeritageDay
People in South Africa celebrate this day with army processions, parades, social gatherings, and special presentations about the country’s history.
- Learn about South African history.
- Read about famous South Africans including Nelson Mandela, Christiaan Barnard, Mahatma Gandhi, Desmond Tutu, and Gary Player.
- Watch a movie starring the famous South African, Charlize Theron. Some of her most well-known movies include, “Monster,” “Atomic Blonde,” and “The Italian Job.”
- Read a book that features South Africa, including Burger’s Daughter by Nadine Gordimer, Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela, and Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda.
- Commit to visiting South Africa someday.
Help spread awareness for this day on social media with #HeritageDay.
HERITAGE DAY HISTORY
September 24th was originally observed as Shaka Day. The day commemorated the Zulu king named Shaka. He died on September 24th, 1828. Shaka played an important role in making South Africa a more cohesive nation. The post-Apartheid Parliament of South Africa did not include September 24th as one of the country’s public holidays. The Inkatha Freedom Party, which had several Zulu members, objected to this exclusion. A compromise was reached, and September 24th became known as Heritage Day. The first celebration took place in 1995.