- Photo by Jaco Pretorius on Unsplash

National Braai Day: The history of this famous South African foodie holiday

How did this famous South African holiday become famous nation-wide? Only one way to find out!

4w ago

Next to animals and nature along with our exotic culture, there is another thing the Rainbow Nation is famous for: Braai

Whether its just sizzling some boerewors and braai broodtjies in the great outdoors with some pals, at this point it's become apart of tradition so much so there is even a National Braai Day celebrated every year on the 24th of September.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions possibly put in place, this year will be no different and it'll be an understatement to say that most people won't be deterred from celebrating this holiday one way or another with their family and friends.

That leaves the question. What were the origins of National Braai Day? Well, there is one way to find out.

Photo by Nico Smit on Unsplash

Photo by Nico Smit on Unsplash

It's common knowledge that this event wasn't always called National Braai Day and there was a initiative to have it rebranded from National Heritage Day in 2005. In 2007 when Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu became the national spokesperson, it was called Braai4Heritage and is still unofficially called Braai day.

However, before it was called Heritage Day or Braai Day, it had a very different name and purpose.

Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash

Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash

“We’re going to have this wonderful thing on the 24th of this month, when we all gather round one fire… it’s a fantastic thing, a very simple idea. Irrespective of your politics, of your culture, of your race, of your whatever, hierdie ding doen ons saam… just South Africans doing one thing together, and recognising that we are a fantastic nation”

In the words of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu himself.

In fact, it used to be called Shaka Day, which celebrated the life Shaka the Zulu king after his presumed death in 1828 when he was killed by his half brothers Digngane and Mhlangana. Despite this, he's believed to have a very important role in uniting many Zulu clans together.

Though, in 1995 this day of commemoration was in danger of being lost because it wasn't on the Public Holidays Bills. However, it was added in 1996, hence why it was changed to National heritage Day.

Of course, eventually becoming the Braai Day that is known today. However, regardless of it's name, this day is meant to bring people together and we get to celebrate that privilege.

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Comments (2)

  • Thanks for the piece, Natasha. Always interesting to learn the different excuses each nation has for holding a feast.

      1 month ago