Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
24 Sep 2018
10:57 am

It’s Heritage Day, not Braai Day says Twitter

Daniel Friedman

The idea of renaming Heritage Day after the Afrikaans term for cooking meat on an open flame is not a popular one across the board.

Braai and vegetable kebabs. Picture: Supplied

During apartheid, Heritage Day was known to Zulu people as Shaka’s Day, as it falls on the presumed date of his death in 1828.

When South Africa’s first democratically elected government proposed a Public Holidays Bill in parliament, and the bill did not include September 24 as a public holiday, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) objected to it.

As a compromise, the date was indeed made a public holiday but with the more inclusive name Heritage Day replacing Shaka’s Day, with the idea being that South Africans of all cultures would celebrate the unique heritage of their own people on the day.

More recently, a celebrity chef nicknamed Jan Braai spearheaded a campaign to informally rename Heritage Day, calling it National Braai Day instead.

While the idea may have had good intentions behind it, not everyone supported the change.

READ MORE: South Africans must unite for Heritage Day – parliament

Some people, mostly but not exclusively black, feel that choosing a name associated mainly with Afrikaans and white South African culture goes against the idea that on Heritage Day all of South Africa’s different cultures should be celebrated.

Well-known writer TO Molofe slammed the idea of Braai Day as “the white supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy’s day of sponsored forgetting,” saying that it showed a tendency to “overrun and overpower the original intentions of commemorating the day.”

“I just wanted to bring South Africans together,” was Jan Braai’s defense, echoing the way many who champion the term say that their offending people by calling for Heritage Day to become Braai Day is unintentional.

Today, Jan Braai’s campaign appears to live on, with some preferring to use the term Braai Day.

But voices on Twitter, seemingly more prominent each year, are by no means happy with the idea of renaming Heritage Day, taking to Twitter to voice their problems with the term Braai Day.

On user called the idea of changing the day’s name a “deliberate distortion of African history and heritage.”



There are those, however, who don’t have a problem with the idea of Braai Day:

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