History, culture, tradition, and uniting – these are just a few of the things that come to mind when thinking of the famous Heritage Day. A day to remember where we come from and a day to connect with our roots. This day is not just about uniting but rather about celebrating the cultural wealth of our nation.
Our office in East London recently celebrated Heritage Day together and we had the opportunity of learning about each of the different cultures among us, so we can remember what the population derives of.
The Xhosa culture is known for their traditional attire and the beads that they wear, however, we learnt that it’s not just beads and dresses that they wear – we learnt that each dress has a different meaning. The men wear beads known as “isdanga” which represents that they are a Xhosa male. The older woman wears big dresses known as “umbhaco”, they cover their heads with a doek also known as “isdzunga” and they wear their beads on their arms, legs and around their necks. The women also go the extra mile to paint on their faces as an added decoration to their attire. Just from seeing the effort they put into what they wear alone, anyone can tell how rich the cultural wealth for the Xhosa tradition is.
When you hear the words “Afrikaans Heritage” the first things that comes to mind are the braai’s, the farming and of course the undeniably delicious koeksisters. Heritage Day to the Afrikaners, is very well known as National Braai Day. On this day, the Afrikaans families come together in their different outfits and gather for a braai to reminisce of their old traditions and to of course be with their respective families.
Our office East London, celebrated Heritage Day together and one of the requirements of this celebration was to wear your respective traditional attire. The different cultures in the office took this opportunity very seriously and did not let their traditions down at all.
The day started off with everyone rehearsing the well-known Jerusalema dance so that we could all participate when the time came to show off our dance moves. However, no amount of rehearsing could prepare us for the stage fright that attacked most of the employees. Once the dance had run its course, we began with the braai and well, even the braai was eventful as the man who was starting it almost caught alight. *Tip – do not start a fire when the wind is blowing*
Long after, we sat around the fire as one and celebrated the different cultures that our company derives of and enjoyed an afternoon full of tradition and unity.
Nelson Mandela once said – “Our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our nation.”
It’s days like these that help our nation remember just how united we can be and how our respective cultures can bring us together