Heritage Day: Preserving SA history

Heritage Day: Preserving SA history

A public holiday to celebrate a diverse people, Heritage Day is set aside for South Africans to observe their uniqueness, and diversity of beliefs and traditions. 


Formerly known as King Shaka Day in KZN, September 24 was redesignated as Heritage Day - geared towards recognising all citizens and their shared differences - and included in the Public Holiday's Bill post-democracy. 

Ahead of the national holiday, The SA Heritage Resources Agency has spoken to Newswatch about preserving South African heritage - whether it be historical sites, educating younger generations or in the identity as a South African.  

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SAHRA, is a national administrative body responsible for protecting the country's cultural heritage as per the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999. 

Executive Officer for Heritage Resources Conservation, Dumisani Sibayi says preserving any part of history requires reflecting stories and activities of the past in its legitimate and truest form. 

"In conservation and anywhere else, we need to have an appropriate understanding of that history. In some instances, we need to rewrite [untold] history so that it's not distorted and reflects the activities of the past," he says. 

He says there's still a lot for young South Africans to learn. 

"You don't necessarily have to go into a classroom or sit behind a desk to see and be educated about heritage sites - it's mostly in the general public - for example Parliament or the Union Buildings. We must have discussions on how to include [these lessons] in school curricula so that kids, from an early age, begin to learn about their local history," he says. 

As much as SA's heritage can be seen in monuments; landscapes; archaeological sites; grave and burial grounds - including ancestral graves, it can also be seen in our individualities as a people. 

Meanwhile, Newswatch has taken to social media to ask locals what they will be doing on Heritage Day to celebrate their uniqueness. Here's what they've had to say.

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