September is Heritage Month in South Africa, and we know that our country is a melting pot of different cultures. September 24th is Heritage Day and is a day where we reflect and celebrate the cultural diversity of our beautiful country. What is sometimes unclear, however, is how this particular day came to be. A lot of people know September 24th is a public holiday, but do we realise why Heritage Day and Heritage Month came to be? And a big one, how do we celebrate Heritage Day in the time of COVID-19? Well, we’re answering some frequently asked questions about Heritage Day starting with the origins of the day and the month. 

How did Heritage Day start? 

African Travel Compass states that September 24th was originally Shaka Day. A day that commemorated the great Zulu king Shaka Zulu. Every year people would gather at his grave and pay homage to the late great king. With the election of the new democratic parliament, however, the day was omitted, much to the dismay of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a political party with a Zulu majority. They reached a compromise, and the middle ground was to celebrate Heritage Day for all South Africans. And that’s how, instead of celebrating one particular culture, we celebrate all cultures and the one overreaching culture that bonds us together; being a South African. 

Why is Heritage Month important? 

Heritage month is important because it seeks to recognise and celebrate the different cultures that make up South Africa’s rich cultural fabric. Promoting cultural diversity and inclusivity plays a large part in maintaining a rich cultural diversity in South Africa. 

What is the meaning of Heritage Day? 

Heritage Day is a day where the nation can celebrate our multi-cultural heritage and diversity of its people. 

How is Heritage Day celebrated? 

Heritage Day is a public holiday for South Africans to remember and pay homage to the various cultures that make up the South African cultural fabric. From spoken word to cultural traditions, performance, rituals, indigenous knowledge systems and techniques, our county’s living heritage plays an essential role in reclaiming and restoring these cultural heritages to address the challenges faced by societies today. 

Here are ways to celebrate Heritage Day in 2020:

How can you show national pride?

A tangible way to show national pride is to register a domain for your business – that demarcates that your business is South African. Also, consider a .africa extension to denote your African pride and to target a local market.