Tag: Heritage Day

Heritage Day traditions and why we do them

Heritage Day is here, and we are either spending time eating, sleeping or chilling with loved ones. But do we know how this day came about or why it is called Braai Day?

What is Heritage Day and how did it come about?

While many South Africans are aware of Heritage Day, how many know the history behind it, the true reason we celebrate this momentous holiday, and its connection to various cultures and traditions?

Heritage Day was initially known as ‘Shaka Day’ or ‘Shaka’s Day’, a day dedicated to commemorating the legendary King Shaka Zulu on the presumed date of his death in 1828. Shaka Zulu played an important role in uniting different Zulu clans into one cohesive Zulu nation in Kwa-Zulu Natal. To this day, thousands of people gather at the King Shaka Memorial on the 24th of September each year to pay tribute to the great Zulu King.

When the bill presented to the new post-Apartheid Parliament of South Africa in 1996 omitted Shaka Day from the proposed Public Holidays Bill, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, strongly objected to the bill. Eventually, a compromise was reached between the Parliament and the ANC (African National Congress), and it was decided that a national holiday would be created where South Africans of all cultures and creeds could come together and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage – Giving rise to Heritage Day!

Heritage Day on 24 September recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation. South Africans celebrate the day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. Various events are staged throughout the country to commemorate this day.

How did it become Braai Day?

In recent years, Heritage Day has further evolved and become synonymous with National Braai Day. Some call it Shisa Nyama or Ukosa, while others call it a braai. Regardless of what term you use, the intention remains the same – Gathering around a fire, enjoying good food, good company and celebrating your culture and heritage with friends, family, and the ones you love.

In 2005, an initiative started by the media aimed to re-brand the day to ‘National Braai Day’. Two years later, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu became the national spokesperson for National Braai Day.

Tutu liked the idea of using braai to unite the people of South Africa as it is common for people from our country’s various cultures to gather together around a fire to cook and celebrate. Cooking a meal in this way is something that crosses racial, cultural, religious and social boundaries.

Besides braaiing, how else is Heritage Day celebrated?

South Africa is a beautiful mix of cultures and heritages, and what better way to do this than to dress up? South Africans love dressing up in traditional attire on Heritage Day. This is a wonderful way to celebrate our cultural roots and remember where we came from.

We love to eat, and besides braai and snacking on biltong, some South Africans take to the kitchen to make Cape Malay dishes and share these with friends and family.

Ramaphosa: Remove Racist Statues

Ramaphosa: Remove Racist Statues.  President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged his support to a campaign which aims to have all statues representing the apartheid era removed.  During his virtual Heritage Day address he said that “monuments glorifying our divisive past should be repositioned and relocated”.  “This has generated controversy, with some saying we are trying to erase our history. Building a truly non-racial society means being sensitive to the lived experiences of all this country’s people. We make no apologies for this because our objective is to build a united nation.”   Ramaphosa acknowledged that South Africa has a history of prejudice and exclusion, and continued that since 1994, the country had worked to transform its heritage landscape.  Renaming towns and cities was part of this transition, as well as the erection of new statues and monuments.  The campaign to remove these statues is gaining momentum quickly.

Ramaphosa urged South Africans to uphold the rights of all people and to protect indigenous languages and cultures.  South Africa is among the world’s top 10 worst affected countries by the pandemic, and the president urged citizens to start working towards rebuilding the economy and recovering from the global crisis.  “We will recover from this crisis and rebuild our lives and our economy. We will continue to strive to eradicate poverty, inequality and underdevelopment. We will continue to uphold the rights of all our people to practice their cultures, to speak their languages and to practice their traditions.”  Ramaphosa commended healers using traditional medicine in an attempt to find a cure for the virus.  “In as much as we join the international community and search for diagnostics and therapeutics, we are also looking at the real and important contribution indigenous knowledge systems, particularly traditional medicine can play in improving the life outcomes of our people.”

Heritage Day – Braai Day in Alberton

Residents of Alberton always grab any opportunity to take a break and have a braai.  Having a day, aptly named “National Braai Day”, only fuels their enthusiasm.  It seems that most Albertonians spent the first 3 days of the week to buy all the essential ingredients for the perfect braai.  Boerewors, steak, Lamb chops, sosaties, Chicken flatties, spareribs, pork chops, brandy, coke and more snacks than can possibly be consumed.  Friends are already coming over to enjoy the day catching up after months of isolation.  By 14:00 this afternoon the entire Alberton, and Gauteng for that matter, will be filled with the aroma of meat cooking on an open fire (or gas for some). The potato bakes, paptert and Braai pie will be ready to go.  We have spoken to some of our residents about their plans for the day.  Petrus from Mayberry Park, is an avid braai master and rarely goes a week without at least one braai.  Today he will be spoiling the family with an enormous fillet steak, honey-mustard chicken sosaties, nearly 2kg of boerewors, spareribs, and cheese grillers as an appetiser.  His wife, Katrina, has spent most of her morning preparing a paptert and a ‘malvapoeding’ is already in the making.

Katrina and Petrus are already on the go with the braai

Henry and Alta, two elderly residents living in Florentia, are going for steak, with some marinated chicken.  Alta made a green salad with the usual cucumber, tomato, lettuce and feta cheese.  They also have a cheese and onion bread baking in the oven.  Leah, a single mom from Meyersdal, have joined forces with several other couples in her complex and will be having a ‘street braai’ later today.  Hailing from London, Gerrard, an Albertonian currently working in the UK, has been preparing a braai feast for himself and his South African friends. A few British friends will be joining them for the occasion.  He bought steaks, pork bangers, and vegetables.  They will be enjoying the meat with a side of mash, Yorkshire pudding, and gravy – a lopsided but perfect marriage of South African and British cuisine.

Meat and Vegetables in London for Braai Day

A local butcher told tameTIMES that he always experiences a sharp increase in sales before National Braai Day and that he now opens on the holiday for those who failed to buy their meat the day before.  Sales for liquor, wine, and cold drinks also see an increase and all braai related extras, snacks and spices also tend to sell fast before the holiday.   

Though some residents feel that the day should be focused solely on celebrating heritage, it seems that most are of the opinion that having a braai is a unique South African way of celebrating a shared and rich heritage.

Please send us your Braai Pictures today at lize@tametimes.co.za or WhatsApp to 0825569033

Heritage Day Recipe: Beef Steak Kebabs


  • Preparation Time:  30 mins
  • Cook Time:  10-15 mins
  • Serves:  6


  • 18 pickling onions, skins on
  • 12 rashers streaky bacon
  • 1 kg rump, cut into 2 ½ cm cubes
  • 12 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • 18 button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into squares
  • 1 packet ROYCO® Spare Rib Marinade


    • Boil pickling onions for 4-5 minutes, refresh in cold water, peel and cut in half.
    • Cut the bacon rashers in half, then roll each piece up.
    • Thread rump cubes onto the skewers, alternating with the pickling onions, bacon, mushrooms and red pepper squares.
    • Prepare ROYCO® Spare Rib Marinade according to packet instructions. Marinate kebabs for 20 minutes.
    • To Cook:
    • Braai kebabs over moderate coals, basting frequently, for about 10 minutes.
    • Grill kebabs in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning and basting frequently.
    • Serve immediately

Sirloin or fillet steak can be used for this recipe, but rump is the tastiest. The kebabs can be made a day ahead (as far as step 4) but only marinate 20 minutes before cooking.


Heritage Day Competition

September is the month for good, traditional food, and of course, dressed in our traditional outfits.

We’re celebrating your heritage with this incredible competition!

Send your favourite heritage recipe, including your own picture of the dish or traditional outfits and you’ll stand the chance of winning a prize!


EMAIL your entry to lize@tametimes.co.za or send via WhatsApp to 0825569033 with the following info:

1) Full name and surname

2) Typed up Heritage Recipe

3) Your OWN photo of your dish or a photo of your traditional outfit

How did Heritage day become Braai day

In 2005, a media campaign was launched in an attempt to rebrand the holiday on 24 September as National Braai Day.  The idea came from the Braai4Heritage organisation which aimed to allow all South Africans to “celebrate their common roots by having a braai on Heritage day.”

The event was created by Jan Scannell, who is known as “Jan Braai” and on 5 September 2007, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was named the National Spokesperson for Braai Day.  Tutu said: “There are so many things that are pulling as apart”, adding that National Braai Day had “wonderful potential to bring us all together…We have 11 different languages but only one word for the wonderful institution of braai: in Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, whatever.”

There has however been some controversy regarding the rebranding with some citizens feeling that the holiday is meant to celebrate each person’s history and heritage.  Regardless of how the day is celebrated or what you prefer to call it, it seems that Braai Day is here to stay, celebrating both heritage and the joy of the braai.

About Tame Times

Tame Communications (known as tame TIMES) was established in 2009. This long-established popular community title includes the key shopping centres:  Alberton City, Mal...

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