Heritage Day is one of the newly created South African public holidays. It is a day in which all are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions that make up the nation of South Africa.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the 24th of September was formerly known as Shaka Day, in commemoration of the legendary Zulu king, King Shaka Zulu. When the proposed Public Holidays Bill before the New South African Parliament omitted Shaka Day, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, objected to the bill. A compromise was reached when it was decided to create a day where all South Africans could observe and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage.
National Heritage Day is when South Africans celebrate the diverse cultural heritage that makes up our Rainbow Nation. It is the day to celebrate the contribution of everyone to the building of a country where South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all of its people. Former South African President Nelson Mandela concisely explained it when he said the following in a Heritage Day speech: “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation”
In honour of Heritage Day, many of the Expand a Sign staff donned their individual cultural attire on the Friday beforehand. Holding a competition for Best Dressed, and with a panel of 6 judges, 1st prize was awarded to Mavis Zondo, a machinist from the factory; she came dressed in her traditional Xhosa ensemble. Shaun Naidoo from the Print Department won 2nd place, dressed in his traditional Indian finery.
Connecting and communicating with so many people of other societies on a daily basis at Expand a Sign, we have chosen to embrace the variations and differences that each custom and tradition brings to create the wonderful patchwork quilt of cultures that is Expand a Sign.