What does Heritage Day mean to you?

Macebo Mbidlana showcases isiXhosa tradition.
Monday is a public holiday. South Africa will be celebrating Heritage Day. On the day, South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people and includes the whole nation.

We asked people what Heritage Day means to them.

Macebo Mbidlana, 44, from KTC in Nyanga, who works in Parliament, was dressed in his traditional Xhosa attire to work today to promote and celebrate his identity. “Heritage means going back to who we are. We shouldn’t forget our roots. Yes, we’ve become Westernised, but that can co-exist with our traditional ways.”

Mbulelo Ngoma, 42, from Philippi who was patrolling for the Central City Improvement District questioned the need to have a specific day for celebrating heritage. He said: “Heritage Day is important. We need to know who we are, but my problem is that we have to know ourselves on a specific date. Does that mean we don’t know who we are throughout the year?”

Michelle Ncube, 32, from Parklands explained the need for the public holiday.

“Heritage Day helps us remember where we come from; our culture and our origins.”

Not everyone, however, understood what the day means.

Marischa Peterse, 29, from Joe Slovo in Milnerton said: “I don’t know so much about Heritage Day, but for me it’s a family day. Most people say it’s about braai, but for me it’s about family.”

Others saw it an an opportunity to catch up on sleep.

Davante van Wyk, 16, from Phoenix in Milnerton said: “I am still in high school. Heritage Day will be on Monday and it’s nice to have a long weekend. It’s not nice getting up early on a Monday.”

Another teenager had a different view.

Goodwill Moeti, 17, who stays in Gardens said: “Heritage Day means expressing myself the way I am. Loving myself and my Setswana culture.”

Chad Frederick, 24, from Mitchells Plain said, “Heritage Day means culture and community. In  our communities we can use the day to help out small children and old people. If they had something in my community, I would have joined in, but at the moment there’s nothing planned. It seems people will be spending the day with their families.”

Burlin Rank, 20, from Tafelsig in Mitchell”s Plain said, “Heritage Day means Braai Day to me. Braai, drink and chill.”