Heritage Day has slowly become synonymous with braaiing. Is our rich, diverse heritage being swept under the rug?
On September 24, South Africa celebrates Heritage Day, which, much to my annoyance, has become known as Braai Day.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good braai as much as the next person, but it just seems like it’s taken over from celebrating the diverse heritage our country has to offer.
It’s a bit of a disservice to the children of this country that they’re not learning about South Africa’s rich heritage by just sweeping it under the Braai Day blanket.
Here are a few things you can do with your kids before the braai.
Entry to all the Iziko Museums are free during the week leading up to Heritage Day (19 – 25 September). These Cape Town-based museums include the Bo-Kaap Museum, The Planetarium, The Slave Lodge, The Social History Museum, and the South African Museum, among others.
For more information, visit the Iziko website.
Taking the kids on a boat trip to Robben Island can be both fun (the boat ride!) and educational. Together you can learn about our country’s past and celebrate how far we’ve come in the last 22 years, but also be reminded of how far we have to go. Robben Island was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
For more information, visit the Robben Island website.
Cradle of Humankind
The Cradle of Humankind was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. About 50km northwest of Johannesburg, the site currently occupies 47,000 hectares and it contains a complex of limestone caves.
The Sterkfontein Caves contain the discovery of a 2.3-million-year-old fossil, Australopithecus africanus (nicknamed “Mrs Ples”), which was found in 1947. There are more than three dozen fossil-bearing caves in the Cradle of Humankind.
You don't have to go spelonking, there's much to do with the family, from having a picnic to seeing the Beasts of the Cradle exhibition. For more information, visit the website of the visitor centre, Maropeng.
The Voortrekker Monument
The Voortrekker Monument is located in Pretoria and commemorates the pioneer history of Southern Africa and the history of the Afrikaner. The massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. It was declared a National Heritage Site in 2012.
For more information, visit the Voortrekker Monument website.
What are your plans for Heritage Day this year? Do you feel South African heritage is being shrouded by Braai Day? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.