Happy Belated Heritage Day

I hope you had a special day celebrating our culture and the diversity of our beliefs and traditions on Thursday. Maybe you even managed a nice long weekend. I’ve taken an extended weekend and instead of sharing an article today about how we can develop ourselves, increase our EQ and unlock our potential, I thought I’d share some interesting facts about Heritage Day…

Do you know how this day came about?

In KwaZulu-Natal, 24 September was known as Shaka Day, in commemoration of Shaka, the Zulu King. Each year people gather at his grave to honour him. In 1996, the Public Holidays Bill was presented to the new democratic Parliament of South Africa and it did not have Shaka Day included on the list. As a result, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) objected to the bill. Parliament and the ANC reached a compromise and the day was given as Heritage Day and accepted as a public holiday.

So, how did it become known as ‘Braai Day’?

In 2007, Jan ‘Braai’ ignited National Braai Day, it encourages all South Africans to unite around a fire on 24 September, in commemoration of the culinary tradition of an informal backyard braai. On 5 September 2007, Archbishop Desmond Tutu celebrated his appointment as patron of South Africa’s Braai Day, affirming it to be a unifying force in a divided country. He donned an apron and tucked into a boerewors sausage. In 2008, the initiative received the endorsement of South Africa’s National Heritage Council.
Our South African Heritage Day is not to be confused with World Heritage Day. This is celebrated on 18 April each year, and it is to raise awareness about the conservation of the world’s monuments and sites.

Did you know we have eight World Heritage sites, in South Africa?

  1. Robben Island, Western Cape
  2. Vredefort Dome, Free State
  3. uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal
  4. Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng
  5. Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Limpopo
  6. iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal
  7. The Castle of Good Hope, Western Cape
  8. Pilgrim’s Rest, Mpumalanga
  9. Nelson Mandela Museum, Mthatha, Eastern Cape
  10. Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, Northern Cape

I feel blessed and honoured to be a South African. I might not agree with many of the decisions made by our government and feel saddened and angered by the ongoing corruption and crime. But I love our people, our land, our traditions, our diversity and our resilience. We are indeed a kaleidoscope of wonder and brilliance!

Let’s keep taking Key Steps together to heal and bless our South Africa and…

‘be the difference that makes the difference.

  1. Namaste,


NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to have achieved the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’