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My Custom, My Culture, My Heritage

The Heritage day that we know today, precedes our democracy. Originally Shaka’s Day, South Africans honoured King Shaka by gathering at his grave. Whilst originally rejected by parliament as an official holiday, post the birth of our democracy in 1995, resistance by the Zulus resulted in the day being renamed Heritage Day to celebrate the rich culture and history of all South Africans.

I asked around, trying to get different views from various people about Heritage Day and what does it means to them. “I celebrate heritage day because I am a Zulu man, this day is only celebrated once a year, so it is important for me to take time and celebrate my history and culture”, these are the words of a man who values his culture and tradition.

On this day, we celebrate and recognise the cultural wealth of our nation. South Africans celebrate the day by remembering the cultural heritage of many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. Various events are staged throughout the country to commemorate the day, which is also known as Braai day, where families decide to get together for a braai in celebration.

“What usually happens during Heritage Day?” This is a question our young generation ask. On this day, thousands of people will gather at KwaDukuza, which is well known as Stanger, being the resting place for the late Zulu King Shaka, to honour and commemorate his life. People wear their traditional attire, sing and perform their traditional dance.

In most schools, students wear their traditional attire and bring in traditional food for that specific day. They sing Amahubo, the traditional songs that were sang during King Shaka’s era. The hymns serve as an educational reminder that helps them understand the history of our country.

This has been a norm for the majority of South Africans, even in the workplace, where everyone will wear their traditional clothes for the celebration of this day, host a braai for lunch and get to experience and exchange different cultures.

This has been a year-to-year habit from then until today. As a youth, this makes me proud of my origin, who I really am. “NGIYINTOMBI YOM’ZULU”, my culture my Heritage.

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Sinethemba Ngobese ( Academy Student)

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