Annual Iconic South African Dates

South Africans will find nearly any reason to celebrate. In fact our traditional funerals become such a huge celebration after the burial, that one who is unfamiliar with some of our traditions might mistake it for a party.

Following the death of Nelson Mandela in 2013, Cape Town stadium hosted a memorial for the public featuring some of South Africa’s biggest names in music. This event marked a milestone in the history of the country.

Video courtesy of The Expresso Show

Aside from New Years, Easter and Christmas etc South Africa has many other iconic dates that mark a turning point in our history as a reminder of how far we have evolved as a country.

21 March – Human Rights Day

On the 21 March 1960, police opened fire on a crowd that gathered outside of Sharpville police station to protest against the Pass Laws of apartheid. 69 people were killed and 180 wounded. This date marked the country’s rise in unison to proclaim their rights.

Human rights day

27 April – Freedom Day

On 27 April 1994, the first post-apartheid were elections held in South Africa. All races from the ages 18 and up were allowed to vote. In previous years people of colour had limited voting rights.

Freedom day

16 June – Youth Day

This date commemorates the Soweto uprising in 1976 when around 20,000 high school students from numerous schools in Soweto protested against the government introducing Afrikaans as the medium of delivery in the black, non Afrikaans-speaking schools. This day serves to remind us about the importance of our youth.

18 June – Mandela Day

This date is a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, his life and the years that he spent in making the world a better place. This day calls for everyone to show acts of kindness towards others and shows that each person has the ability to make a difference in the world

Mandela day

9 August – National Women’s Day

This day serves as a celebration of all South African women who fought against the discrimination of the apartheid regime and helped course the country into what it is today. The iconic march held on 9 August 1956 was a display of 20,000 women protesting the Pass Laws at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Womens day

24 September – Heritage Day

This day was appointed in place of King Shaka Day for all South Africans to celebrate their diverse cultures and traditions and moving forth united as the rainbow nation. Since 2005 it has also become known as National Braai Day where families, friends and strangers unite over a barbeque.

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Our Correspondent
Cult South Africa correspondent
Shakeela - Cape Town

Born in Johannesburg, lived in East London, grew up in Port Elizabeth and living in Cape Town for ten years now, I love to think of myself as an all round South African! I received my BA Degree in Motion Picture in 2010 ...

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About this place

Continent: Africa
Capital: Pretoria
Population: 49,000,000
Area: 1,219,912 km2
Currency: Rand
Languages: English, Afrikaans

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