All about Heritage Day

2016-09-21 06:00

SATURDAY 24 September is Heritage Day - a day on which South Africans are encouraged to come together to celebrate the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions that make up this country.

In KwaZulu-Natal, 24 September was formerly known as Shaka Day, in commemoration of the Zulu king, King Shaka Zulu.

In Parliament the IFP objected to the proposed Public Holidays Bill as it omitted Shaka Day. A compromise was reached when it was decided to create a day where South Africans could observe, share and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage.

This day is also known as National Braai Day. The idea has had some high profile converts, the most notable being that of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, ,who in 2007 was made the national spokesperson for "Braai Day",

and is quoted as saying: "We're going to have this wonderful thing on the 24th of this month ... when we all gather round one fire. It's a fantastic thing, a very simple idea. Irrespective of your politics, of your culture, of your race, of your whatever, hierdie ding doen ons saam ... just South Africans doing one thing together, and recognising that we are a fantastic nation."

The National Heritage Council of South Africa defines heritage as: "Heritage is what is preserved from the past as the living collective memory of a people not only to inform the present about the past but also to equip successive generations to fashion their future. It is what creates a sense of identity and assures rootedness and continuity, so that what is brought out by dynamism of culture is not changed for its own sake, but it is a result of people's conscious choice to create a better life."

National Heritage Resources Act of 1999 states that our heritage is unique and precious and cannot be renewed. Included in the list of heritage resources - buildings of interest, significance ;historical settlements, graves, etc. A building has to be over 60 years old to be considered a heritage site.

Unfortunately, in Greytown a number of important landmark heritage sites have been destroyed over the years - Greytown Railway station Greytown Masonic Lodge, Bollands, the UMR hall still stands, but is in an appalling neglected condition.

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