Heritage Day According To The Youth Of Mzansi – Is It A Celebration Of Culture Or A Braai?


It’s heritage day also known as braai day….

In my humble opinion, heritage is a celebration of all things that make us who we are as South Africans, our history, culture, music, dance, language, food, traditions etc.  South Africa is a rainbow country and to me, heritage day is the perfect time to showcase that or better yet do things that help preserve our cultures and history.  Well, that’s just my opinion…..

I asked few young people from different provinces what their thoughts are on this day and how they are planning on spending the day….

Lunga, Rondebosch, Cape Town

What does Heritage Day mean to you?

To be honest I have never really given it much thought and I have never gone out of my way to celebrate big or plant a tree as many people do. I would not mind doing something with meaning instead of having a braai.  But as for this coming heritage, I will see how I can contribute to this amazing day”

How are you planning on celebrating the day?

“As for now, I’m not too sure. I will take it as it comes.

Kagiso Ntanga, Durban

 What does Heritage Day mean to you?

Heritage Day, like most SA public, holidays, has lost meaning for me.  When it did mean something though, it would be a day for me and those around me to celebrate our culture, and more importantly to learn about other cultures around me. I am Xhosa and have lived among Zulus and Indians, to name just two.  So, I would make sure that I attended at least two cultural events, whether at someone’s church, society or workplace.  I enjoyed the dance displays, food, and talks about cultural practices and customs.  Now it has become braai day…I never did understand the concept or the thinking behind it.  South Africans do not need a reason to braai.  I do wish we would return to actively commemorating and celebrating Heritage Day as individuals, families, communities and churches or faith-based organisations”

How are you planning on spending the day?

“I intend to relax at home but then again, I am always up for a good party, so am open to invitations.”

Shaun Nyewe, Gugulethu, Cape Town

What does Heritage Day mean to you?

“It is the remembrance of our history, traditions & cultures.

How are you planning on spending the day? 

The first thing in the morning is to wear my Xhosa Traditional attire (izivatho zakwa Ntu) then sing the songs of praises. Take a walk to Grave-yard & clean the graves of my family members. On my coming back cleanse myself, as we all know that after you came back from the Grave-yard you have to cleanse yourself. As the day progresses I will attend the Heritage Day ceremonies at the Community Hall.  The rest will follow, but I am not into this thing of National Braai Day.  Because to me, it’s a insult to the people who can’t afford to buy meat & make a braai.”


Sekeetha De Nobrega Maloon, Durban

What does Heritage Day mean to you?

Well, personally I feel there is too much emphasis on the Dutch heritage, around this Braai day, and does not expose much of the other culture’s heritage. I feel it’s a front to the rest of the world and to keep people at peace, when really the clouding who we really are.

How are you planning on spending the day? 

Going to botanic gardens, there are always show’s on and it’s a nice picnic spot

Crystal Jo-Anne Ruiters, Queenstown, EC

What does Heritage Day mean to you?

Heritage day to me highlights different cultural backgrounds were people stand out proudly, expressing their cultural beliefs and celebrating their heritage in different ways.   Some do it in what their ancestors believed in, but as generations change we adapt to certain changes.

How are you planning on spending the day?

My family, friends and I are having a get-together and we’ll be braaing at Bonkolo Damn.”


Sibongiseni Ndlangalavu, EC

What does Heritage Day mean to you?

Heritage day is not about braaing.  It’s actually about celebrating our diversity and look back where we come from. It’s also about food and humanity knowing that your neighbour it’s actually your sister, your brother, father, mom.  It is said that it takes the whole community to raise up a child. That’s what we are whether we are Tswana, Xhosa, Ndebele, Pedi, Zulu, Shangaan etc.  Happy heritage day! Love one another.”

How are you planning on spending the day?

I will be spending time with my family, drink amarhewu and have a kota.”


Well, with all that said I would like to thank Lunga, Kagiso (@KagsMaster), Shaun, Sekeetha, Crystal and Sibongiseni for sharing their opinions.  Thokozani Tenza and Lite Monga Tini, thank you for letting me use your images!  Nangamso!

Happy Heritage Day!



About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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