The Ultimate Guide to Celebrate Heritage Day

With a whole day dedicated to commemorating South African Heritage, Joburg Tourism ramps up “Braai Day” preparations with their ultimate guide to celebrating Heritage Day.


Traditionally observed as ‘Shaka’s Day,’ the history of Heritage Day commemorated the Zulu King Shaka, but has since seen the 24th of September evolve from not only acknowledging one source of South African Heritage but into a national celebration of all South African people. From North, to South, East and West, the four corners of our colourful country celebrate one another for their unique heritage, culture and traditions. Where each and every category, brand, custom and lasting legacy is celebrated, it is a day where our differences and that which sets us apart are in fact the ties that bind us together as a united and vibrant nation.


In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, former President Nelson Mandela 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.” Having almost predicted the country’s need to unify, Heritage Day once again evolved and is now fondly referred to as “Braai Day”.


In a celebration of a shared heritage, it was the notable Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who in 2007 became the National Spokesperson for “Braai Day”.  Irrespective of politics, culture or race, on the 24th of September you can find most South Africans celebrating Heritage Day congregating around the burning embers of a traditional South African braai.


Whether you plan on lighting your flames for South African culture in a public park, at home, with gas, on coals or a wood burning braai, with so many variants to braai-ing, to follow find our top tips and DIY Braai Guide to Heritage Day Braai celebrations.


  • Braai variations include gas, wood, charcoal or briquette braais. Where gas is the easiest (ideal for novice braai makers) wood adds a unique and smoky flavour to the food being cooked on your braai. Charcoal and briquettes are quick burning and easy to use fuel, ideally used in kettle braai options.
  • Succulent steak cuts perfectly prepared on the braai include; Fillet, Rump, Sirloin, Club, Ribeye or T-Bone. Other cuts of meat include lamb chops where rib chops are more tender and tasty than leg options.
  • Boerewors is a staple to any braai menu served as a precursor or main. Boerewors can be eaten on its own, served with a variety of salads or in a roll with condiments that include tomato sauce, mustard, caramelised onions or chakalaka.
  • Most braais are accompanied by an array of salad options. The most popular variants include a traditional potato salad, a curried three bean salad and a firm favourite with the little ones being a carrot and pineapple grated salad soaked in orange juice. While not technically a salad, blasphemy if excluded from the side selection of your braai, many serve pap with Sheba / Chakalaka/ other relish variants, some pickled, some curried and others spicy.
  • Planning a braai picnic away from home? There are a number of braai friendly locations littered throughout Joburg that cater for braai facilities. Some of our favourite locations include James & Ethel Gray Park in Melrose, Pieter Roos Park in Parktown, Zoo Lake in Rosebank, Innesfree Park in Sandton and Rhodes Park in Kensington. While these are just a few locations, there are many more park venues across the city but be sure to research ahead of time as some of these don’t allow for fire making and braais.

Regardless of how you intend to celebrate Heritage Day in the coming month, make sure to share your unique heritage with those around you, wave your flag and contribute to strengthening South Africa as a nation by sharing your history, being proud of who you are and the heritage from where you come.

Happy Heritage Day Jozi!

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