From Jerusalema to melktert: How to celebrate Heritage Day with your family

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How to celebrate Heritage Day with your family
How to celebrate Heritage Day with your family

Celebrating Heritage Day is all about understanding each other better and respecting and appreciating other cultures.

It helps to unite us, understand other’s perspectives and broaden our own.

So says Kristin Palitza, founder and director of agaaain!, a Cape Town based site that lists the best family friendly venues in the area. 

"Learning about one another's cultures and celebrating our differences builds tolerance, acceptance and encourages connection," she told Parent24, adding that learning about cultures and traditions helps children build their sense of identity and knowledge of the world around them.

Nurture family connection 

"It can set them up for a more positive experience in life," she said. 

"Cultural celebrations foster open-mindedness, and they also contribute to a sense of comfort and belonging and make us realize that there are many things we have in common, too."

The way parents teach their children about culture and tradition can play an important role in moulding their behaviour and thinking patterns.

"Cultural celebrations nurture family connection and create positive memories for children," she said. 

So what to do this Heritage Day? Palitza has some ideas of fun ways to celebrate Heritage Day, no matter where you are.

See below:

Heritage Day is Braai Day! 

This is something every family member can look forward to.

Involve the kids in the ritual this year by teaching them how to make a fire (maybe even by rubbing sticks) or how to collect and stack the wood.

Make dough together to grill stick bread, or let the kids make and braai their own veg skewers.

Funny: The 22 types of family members at a braai

Learn the Jerusalema dance 

"I urge everyone to use this public holiday as family time, to reflect on the difficult journey we have all travelled, to remember those who have lost their lives, and to quietly rejoice in the remarkable and diverse heritage of our nation. And there can be no better celebration of our South African-ness than joining the global phenomenon that is the Jerusalema dance challenge," Ramaphosa said when he announced the move to lockdown Level 1 last week.

The hit song by SA-born musician Master KG has not only become a global phenomenon and taken social media by storm, and it’s a great way to celebrate our culture and diversity.

Lets make it happen!  

Dance! Jerusalema 'mini-feature film' in the works to celebrate viral dance challenge 

Teach diversity 

We usually celebrate our own cultural background on Heritage Day, but we can also use the opportunity to talk with your kids about our diversity and ALL the identities South Africa incorporates. 

Also read: A parent explains the importance of diversity and representation in children's books 

Tell your stories

Heritage Day presents an opportunity to learn about our own culture.

What values, traditions and beliefs do you have? How do you express those in daily life?

Younger kids can draw a picture, while older kids can write a story or even a small play.

It's Storytime! Read Lindelwe's Song, a healing story for the new South Africa  

Get cultural in the kitchen

Organise a cook-off by preparing a handful of dishes from different South African cultures: samp and beans, Malay curry, melktert, Shakshuka, boerewors, Malva pudding … you name it.

It’ll teach kids about culinary traditions and you’ll have a great meal at the end of it!

Yum! Find ideas and recipes here 

Go on a cultural adventure

No matter where you live in South Africa, you’ll have lots of places of cultural interest near you.

Gather the family and visit a museum, a public sculpture, city hall or a historic monument. Take a picnic along, for an outing that is both fun and educational. 

Now is a great time to learn about our beautiful country!

Did you know? SA is home to two of the thirteen otter species around the world 

How do you celebrate Heritage Day? Let us know!


Share your stories and questions with us via email at chatback @ Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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