Heritage Day a public holiday created in 1996, a day in which all are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions that make up the nation of South Africa.
In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, former President Nelson Mandela stated:
"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."
I will be focussing on World Heritage Sites found in 141 countries, South Africa boasts eight. September is Heritage Month and I will take a look at some of these sites including the Cradle of Humankind which hosts Maropeng, the Tumulus which leads visitors back into the past and forward towards the future. Also to be seen at the Cradle of Humankind are the Sterkfontein Caves where Robert Broom discovered "Mrs Ples". Another site of interest in this general area, is Swartkrans where to date more than 200 huminid specimens have been discovered.
The Eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa are:iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Robben Island, Cradle of Humankind, uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Cape Floral Region, Vredefort Dome and Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape. This country also has 16 national heritage sites and several provincial sites.
In the vein of celebrating shared culture rather than focusing on cultural divisions, an initiative by Braai4Heritage calls upon all South Africans to celebrate their common roots by having a braai (barbecue) on Heritage day. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, was made the National Spokesperson for National "Braai Day" in 2007.