On September 24, citizens throughout South Africa will proudly bring out their braai stands and celebrate their rich heritage, which has been passed down from generation to generation in keeping with the customs of National Heritage and Braai Day.
In KwaZulu-Natal, September 24 was known as Shaka Day, in honour of the Zulu King, Shaka who played an important role in uniting disparate Zulu clans into a cohesive nation.
This ultimately led to the creation of Heritage Day which allows South Africans across the spectrum to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions.
When translated into English, the word ‘braai’ means barbecue or grill and is regarded as a social custom in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Although the term originated with the Afrikaans-speaking people, it was soon adopted by South Africans of many ethnic backgrounds.
From sumptuous grills to a variety of salads and good drinks, a braai consists of both good food and company and this is why it is celebrated as the greatest feast in South African history.
Although the ingredients may differ, the one thing that never changes is that when residents have something to celebrate, they light fires, and prepare great feasts.
It also allows the fairer sex to take a break from the kitchen and allow the male counterpart to grill the various types of meat which include boerewors, sosaties, kebabs, marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, sausages, spareribs and soya meats for vegetarians or those observing a fast.
In keeping with the special public holiday, it is not just families who will be hosting the social gathering this year, but also corporate businesses and organisations as well. All South Africans are encouraged to participate in this fun and tangible activity shared by all demographic groups and religious denominations.