• September, 24th 2021
  • Reneiloe Mokotedi
  • 0
Public Holiday

Heritage Day.

South Africa is also called “Rainbow Nation” due to its fusion of diverse cultures and vibrant people, and this is why Heritage Day exists.


Heritage Day is a South African Holiday celebrated on the 24th of September. This day was previously known as ‘Shaka Day”, which commemorates the death of the legendary king of Zulu, King Shaka Zulu. King Shaka Zulu played an important role in uniting the Zulu clans into a cohesive nation. Each year people gather at King Shaka’s grave to honour him.

Heritage Day is also known as National Braai Day. On this day we are encouraged to get together to eat, drink and celebrate our diverse cultures and traditions. Whatever you choose to do to celebrate this day, food should be a big part of the celebrations.

Ten South African foods to try out this Heritage Month

1. Tshisanyama/Braaivleis

There’s arguably not a more iconic food to start with than a South African braai. A South African braai is a way of life. It is so popular that even Heritage Day is proclaimed National Braai Day. It can only be considered a braai if the meat is cooked over hot coal (not gas!). Any type of meat can be used, boerewors, pork chops, chicken, beef steak/ chicken wings.

2. Umqusho- Samp and beans

Umqusho, also known as Mandela’s favorite dish, is a classic traditional dish of the Xhosa people. Umqusho is usually served alongside beef stew and sauces for a truly balanced and tasty meal.

3. Pap and Chakalala

Chakalaka and pap are often served together with braaivleis and salads. Chakalaka combines vegetable carrots, onions, and tomatoes into a spicy relish. Apart from the main ingredients, chakalaka is also made with beans and curry powders. It is almost impossible to find a South African braai without this combination.

4. Morogo with Mabele a ting

This is a popular dish amongst Tswana people. Morogo is a Setswana word for African spinach and includes a collection of over 100 different types of edible “leafy greens” found throughout Southern Africa. Ting is a stiff porridge made from fermented mabele/ sorghum with a subtle sour taste to it.

5.Bunny chow & Kota/Sphatlho

Bunny Chow originates from Durban and it was created by the large Indian immigrant population in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal. Kota literally translated means “quarter” which is a quarter of a loaf. These two are usually considered to be the same thing-understandably. However Kota is very different from bunny chow, the only similarity between the two is that the base is a hollowed quarter of a loaf of bread. The toppings of a bunny chow usually consist of different types of curry: mince, curry, lamb, etc. While on the other hand the fillings of Kota typically consist of chips, atchar, Russian, polony, and cheese.

6. Mala Mogodu

Mala Mogodu is a hearty stewed tripe. It is a truly South African delicacy and is usually served with pap.

7. Biltong

This is probably the most loved South African snack. Biltong is meat cuts soaked in brine and hung to cure. The first version of Biltong was made by the indigenous people of southern Africa, such as the Khoi Khoi. It can be made out of a variety of meats including beef and game.

8. Vekoek/ Amagwinya

Vekoek/ Amagwinya is basically fried dough. It is crispy and golden on the outside while fluffy on the inside. The word means “fat cake” and it is often eaten as breakfast or afternoon tea. Vetkoeks are very popular in townships and suburbs. Most South Africans love to fill them with beef mince or boerewors.

9. Milk tart

Milk Tart, otherwise known as melktert in Afrikaans, is a soothing coffee/tea time treat topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

10. Koeksisters

This dish is a favorite among the Afrikaners community in South Africa. Koeksisters are hardly hard on the outside while soft on the inside. They have a golden, crunchy crust, soft and doughnut-like centre. The word “Koek” refers to a sweet dough (like cookies) and “sisters” emanates from the braided design resembling a girl’s plaited hair. If you have sweet tooth, you will likely enjoy koeksisters as they consist 95% of sugar.

Here’s to a happy and colorful heritage month to all South Africans!