Happy Heritage Day!

Did you know?

The 24th of September use to be called Shaka Day, in memory of Shaka, the Zulu king (they think this was the date of his death in 1828.
King Shaka was integral in uniting the different Zulu clans into a cohesive nation. They would gather at his grave each year to honour him on this day.
When Public Holidays Bill presented to the new democratic Parliament of South Africa in 1996 did not have 24 September included on the list of proposed public holidays.  The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, objected to the bill.  A compromise was reached and Heritage Day was accepted as a public holiday and we now celebrate the diverse cultural heritage that makes up a “rainbow nation”.  It is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution of all South Africans to the building of South Africa.

We have three fun hands-on activities that you can do at home. Check them out below…

DIY South African Flag & Puzzle

It is #HeritageDay in South Africa, let’s take a look at how the South Africa flag was created and what the law is around displaying the flag.

Brief history of the South African flag

In 1993, the Negotiating Council, which was in the process of setting up an interim constitution for the newly democratic South Africa, set up a Commission on National Symbols.
So what was their job?
– Present four potential flags to represent South Africa from 1994 onwards.
– The presented four flags in just five weeks (they asked the public for help)

The flag needed to meet the following criteria:
• It must be a unique design
• It should promote and symbolise national unity
• Design must be simple (a child must recognise it and be able to draw it)
• Preferably primary colours
• Must be full colour

The convener on that committee was the late Mr Fred Brownell, who designed the flag we know and love now just a month before South Africa’s democratic elections, and it was first used on 27 April 1994.

Did you know there are things you shouldn’t do with the South African flag?
– The flag cannot be eaten over or used as a floor mat. It’s considered disrespectful.
– Don’t flip it or reverse it! Usually, a nation’s flag that is upside down means the country has surrendered to an enemy. Keep the red part at the top 😉
– The rules call for the flag to be taken down before sunset (for state and personal use) unless it is very well lit and displayed clearly.
– Any monument or historically significant statue or plaque may not be wrapped in or covered by the South African flag.

What you will need

– 3 x copies of the flag (if you don’t have a printer you can draw them)
– 1 x A4 sheet of cardboard
– Crayons/ markers/ paint
– Skewer/ dowel stick
– A pair of scissors
– A sealable bag


What to do

• Colour all the flags as per instructions
• Glue two flags with skewer between on the edge
• Glue the 3rd flag on stiff cardboard
• Draw lines on the back of the cardboard
• Cut on the lines to make puzzle pieces
• Mix pieces up and try and put the puzzle together
• Store pieces in a sealable bag for future play

DIY South African Coat of Arms

The national coat of arms, or State emblem, is the highest visual symbol of the State. This emblem is seen on all official documents in the state, from birth certificates to passports. A new coat of arms, introduced on Freedom Day 27 April 2000, replaces one that was used in South Africa since 17 September 1910. The change reflects the Government’s aim to highlight the democratic change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism. The motto is written in the Khoisan language of the ǀXam people and translates literally to “diverse people unite”.

What you will need

– Print out an image of the coat of arms (puzzle template)
– A pair of scissors
– Glue
– Cardboard (same size as print out image)
– A sealable bag


What to do

– Paste print out Image onto the cardboard sheet using glue
– Cut on the red lines to make your 5 puzzle pieces
– Mix pieces up and try and put the puzzle together
– Store pieces in a sealable bag for future play

DIY Rainmaker

Rainmakers actually simulate the delightful sound of falling rain. These Rainmakers or Rainsticks originated hundreds of years ago in South Africa and were used during native ceremonies.

What you will need:

• A paper towel roll
• Foil
• Two pieces of wax paper cut circularly big enough to cover the open ends of the tube,
• 2 tablespoons of rice
• Glue
• Tape
• Decorative paper, scrap colour paper, etc.

What to do:

First secure one of the pieces of wax paper to one of the open sides of the paper towel tube with glue or tape. Next, gently scrunch some foil to mould it into a “foil snake”. With a bit more force, start twisting on the “foil snake” to create spiral ridges all along with the foil. Make sure the length of the foil is as long as your paper towel tube. Place this now twisted foil into the paper towel tube. Pour in between 1-2 tablespoons of uncooked rice. Seal up the other end of the paper towel tube with the wax paper cut out and secure with tape. The final step is to decorate the outside of the rain tube, using glue, wrapping paper and any other decorative things.

What’s Up:

The twisted foil inside the tube slows down the rice as they fall from one end to the other. This falling rice hits not only the foil but the sides of the tube and the paper coverings on the ends. This hitting of the rice causes vibration and that vibration causes sound.