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The year of Charlotte Maxeke: Celebrating South Africa’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

Nelson Mandela, in proclaiming Heritage Day, said “when our first democratically elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage, has a profound power to help build our new nation”.

It’s that time of the year again where we celebrate what it means to be South African. This year Heritage Day falls on Friday, 24 September 2021.

September the 24th used to be celebrated by Zulu South Africans as “Shaka Zulu Day”. When the new public holidays were put before parliament, the IFP objected to its omission. The day was added, but with a wider meaning.

Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the countrywide celebration of #HeritageDay under the theme, “The year of Charlotte Maxeke: Celebrating South Africa’s Intangible Cultural Heritage”.

In South Africa the term “intangible cultural heritage” is used interchangeably with the term Living Heritage. ‘Living Heritage’ is the foundation of all communities and an essential source of identity and continuity.

The aspects of the foundation includes cultural tradition, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory, skills and indigenous knowledge system and holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships.

According to the presidency, our past shapes our future, who we are today and what we’ve accomplished are results of our culture and heritage that have been shaped from generations and have been passed down to us. It’s now up to us to preserve our heritage, as well as give rise to new cultural ideas. “Our ancestors may be different from us, but they have helped shape our future,” said the presidency.

Setswana Cultural Dance

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