Why we’re celebrating National Heritage Day in South Africa

Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabuntu

Heritage Day (or Braai day) is a South African public holiday celebrated on 24 September. On this day, South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people.

The isiZulu phrase “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu” directly translates to English as: “A person is a person because of people”. This proverb spans across language, culture, and time capturing the essence of understanding, love, respect, and unity amongst all South Africans.

To commemorate Heritage Day 2020, our fellow Salties had a mouth-watering proudly South African sweet treat breakfast known as “Cape Malay Doughnuts” better known to South African as Koesisters!

Our sweet treats were provided by neighbourhood cook and Bo-Kaap entrepreneur Wardia, who has been a long-time friend of the Salt South Africa office. Wardia has been running her business in the Bo-Kaap area for the last 20 years and has updated her recipes in recent years to ensure that her treats are delicious and affordable, yet healthy enough for the community to enjoy as a breakfast meal.

Traditional Cape Malay koeksisters covered in honey and coconut flakes

Being a representative of the rich cultural history Bo-Kaap has to offer, Wardia epitomizes the true essence of Ubuntu the concept of common humanity, oneness, and a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. Her business principles and values do not only represent unity and humanity towards others, but the sheer love for feeding her community makes her a true local hero.

To further celebrate Heritage Day as an office, we asked our Cape Town Salties what their favourite South African word or phrase is and why. Since Heritage Day has also been coined “National Braai (BBQ) Day” we also asked for their top two braai essentials. Watch below to see what they said. You can also watch the video on Salt’s YouTube channel.

While Heritage is celebrated once a year, it is important to take the time to celebrate your history and culture, especially in times like these. At Salt we make it our mission to ensure that our employees feel absolutely comfortable in bringing their whole self to work and it was truly wonderful to see everyone joining in the fun, showing off our diverse cultures and local South African slang phrases with much excitement!

A person is a person through other persons; you can’t be human in isolation; you are human only in relationships.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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