Hierdie ding doen ons saam – this thing we do together.

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Last Saturday we celebrated Heritage Day, a public holiday in South Africa. For many of the interns, this was the first time celebrating such a day, so just to explain a bit more about what it actually means, here’s a small history lesson.

Every 24th of September South Africa celebrates Heritage Day or – as others call it – National Braai (BBQ) Day. This national holiday was once known as Shaka Day. A day to remember the help that the inhabitants of Kwazulu-Natal received from King Shaka Zulu, who helped to unite the tribes in South Africa. Even after all this time, people gather every year at his grave to honour him and to thank him for what he has done.

After apartheid, the South African parliament proposed not to include Shaka Day as a national holiday. This proposal received a lot of protest and a compromise was reached. Heritage Day was born and has become a day in which all are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs and traditions that make up the Rainbow Nation of South Africa.

Though we didn’t go see the grave of King Shaka ourselves — instead we visited Delft, a township outside of Cape Town. We enjoyed a day filled with music, traditional dancing, food prepared by Ivy’s Kitchen, a fashion show, local jewellery, poetry and an acapella performance. Everyone there was dressed in their traditional clothing, beads and face paint as well. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the heritage of South Africa with a local community!