Heritage day dawns upon us South Africans as the 24th of September dually approaches. Heritage day encourages the broad spectrum of South African nationals to celebrate their culture and diversity of their beliefs and traditions on this day.
In KZN, Heritage day was formerly known as Shaka Day, in the remembrance of the Zulu King Shaka. King Shaka played a vital role in uniting disparate Zulu clans into this broad nation of people. Many people gather each year at the grave of King Shaka to honour him on this public holiday.
The Public Holidays Bill presented to the Parliament of South Africa at the time did not have 24 September included on the list of proposed public holidays. As a result of this exclusion, the IFP objected to the bill. Parliament and the IFP reached a compromise and the day was given its present title and seen as a public holiday known as Heritage Day.
South African citizens celebrate Heritage Day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many cultures within the country. Various events are held throughout the country in order to treasure this day.
In 2015, 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 2001, 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 roll. 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.
Organiser Jan Scannell announced that the aim is not to have a mass braai, but little ones with 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.