There’s not going to be a new edition of the podcast today because it is a three-day weekend here in South Africa. [Don't worry, there will be a special holiday (read: intoxicated) edition of the podcast recorded later today and put up sometime on Tuesday!]
Meanwhile, we’re trying to sort out how to feel about Heritage Day, with South Africa celebrates today, other than, “yay! Day off!” It’s a pretty loaded day off. The following summary is cobbled together from Wikipedia entries and scattered South African blog posts:
In the Bad Old Days of South African history, the homeland KwaZulu celebrated 24 September (that’s how you write dates here, which confuses me every time I have to give my date of birth at the pharmacy) as Shaka Day. When the government reformed after Apartheid, Shaka Day was not on the list of public holidays, which upset some Zulu members of parliament. The compromise was to mark the 24th of September as “Heritage Day”, where all South Africans could celebrate their personal backgrounds that contribute to this “Rainbow Nation.”
Trouble is, nowadays “Heritage Day” is more commonly known as “Braai Day”, meaning a day to grill food. Which seems… more than a little gauche:
I think this is what those crazed Fox News commentators are always going on about with the “War on Christmas”? Having a meaningful holiday reduced to something as silly as meat cooked on fire is pretty insulting.
Regardless, we’re going to have a braai today, probably with some “American Hot Dog Sausages” which I guess celebrates our heritage. In the meantime, for my handful of South African readers, I’d love to hear what you think about Heritage Day/Braai Day!
I wonder if immigrants to the US are this confused on Columbus Day.