The Top 5 pillars of heritage

Happy Heritage Day Mzansi

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:44 PM 

The general standard definition of heritage is the preservation of one’s history and identity. However in the South African context, it differs a tad, hence our heritage is inclusive of all the various rich cultures that are found in this country.

Essentially heritage is what one makes of it as it means different things to different people. However in a diverse country as South Africa, it mainly boils down to these factors:


Generally, on heritage day, South Africans drape themselves in clothing that is in accordance to a tribe that one belongs to, given this country’s numerous tribes.

Fashion designer, Laduma Ngxokolo of Maxhosa, has reinvented the Xhosa prints into modern everyday wear. His clothing label has grown way beyond our African borders to most parts of the world given its rich and authentic aesthetic.

Television and Radio host, Anele Mdoda, was recently spotted rocking a mini-skirt made from the Xhosa print called Umbhaco… and a cape that looks like it was inspired by Ndebele prints. Her modern twist and incorporations of South African prints sealed the deal.

Music has played a pivotal role in shaping and preserving our heritage in South Africa. One of the ways in which the country has achieved this is by sampling old tunes and incorporating them into current and modern music.

As in the case of rapper, AKA, he sampled South Africa’s music icon, Caiphus Semenya’s on his hit song, Caiphus Song, this was done as a way of paying homage to the type of music that some South Africans have long forgotten, especially with the rise and heavy influence of international trends. Talking about the record, the rapper said: “I want people to be patriotic. Patriotic in their love and appreciation for the sound of South Africa that we are trying to create and not metro boomin ‘knock offs.”

The legendary, Thandiswa Mazwai has always been known as an afro traditional musical genius, her records are primarily in her mother tongue, IsiXhosa. In March this year, the singer paid a musical tribute to the late political stalwart, Winnie Madikizela Mandela. A move that was perceived as a remembrance of a memory in history.

Rapper, Kid X, recently released his album titled, Mfana Ka Aunty. The artwork for this body of work was hand designed by the iconic, Esther Mahlangu. Kid X wanted to put a younger version into it and show pride in the Ndebele artwork.

Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head, if you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart”. An alternative interpretation of this is that, there is beauty and depth in our mother tongues. There is still a sacred and important place for our indigenous languages in this country not just English which has seemingly been put on a pedestal.

Musician, Nathi Mankayi has taken a stance to speak only a language that he is familiar to him and his reality – IsiXhosa.  His decision has brought about mixed reactions from his fans however Nathi is not shaken by the criticism.

Food plays a pivotal role in preserving our culture and heritage. Therefore there are various types of food that reminds us of who we are as South Africans, which brings about the inclusion and formation of the braai element of this prestigious day.

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Retail Giant has hopped into the #mykindofbraai frenzy by creating easy and familiar food pairings for Heritage Day. Pictured is a rump steak on oak braai planks with mustard butter.

Braai Day
There is quite a lot that one needs to keep in mind when celebrating this day hence it keeps evolving, from the time when it was known as Shaka’s Day to, Heritage Day and now, Braai day. It is quite predictable of how mostly black people celebrate heritage day, however there are other racial groups that form a big part of our heritage – white/coloured people.

Braai’ng is our imprint as South Africans; therefore this sport encompasses everyone that is South African.

The renowned eatery in Orlando, Soweto has a variety of food that celebrates our heritage as South Africans. Pictured is pap and kidneys coupled with fried onions. A meal that most South Africans are familiar with.

Main Image credit: Instagram/@Sjava_atm