South Africa is a country that has faced many challenges throughout its existence. It is a country full of rich cultural and ethnic diversity that has overcome massive obstacles to strive to reach unity as a single nation that celebrates its diversity. It has overcome colonialism, slave trade, the Cold War and the horrors of Apartheid. In doing so South Africa has many things to celebrate; including its rich diversity, South Africa’s 20th year of Democracy, and its arts & culture.
Heritage Day was established in 1996, and is celebrated on the 24th of December. Former President Nelson Mandela once stated, “ When our first democracy-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 profound power to help build our new nation.” This day celebrates the shared culture within South Africa; you’ll find festivities such as Braai4Heritage, South Africans celebrate their common roots by having a braai, or barbeque, on Heritage Day.
2014 also marks 20 years of Democracy in South Africa. On April 27th Freedom Day is celebrated. It is an annual celebration of South Africa’s first non-racial democratic elections of 1994; marking the end of over three hundred years of colonialism, segregation and Apartheid and the establishment of a new democratic government led by Nelson Mandela.
Arts & Culture:
The arts and culture in South Africa beautifully reflect the diverse heritage of the country; and the African Contemporary art scene is blooming within South Africa. One example in particular is the FNB Joburg Art Fair. This August marks its seventh year, and it will be held in the suburb of Sandton. Last year the fair included 33 galleries with group shows in Mozambique, Nigeria and Zimbabwe as well as galleries from all over Europe. This art fair has inspired a handful of others that seem to be popping up, including the Cape Town Art Fair and the Turbine Art Fair in Newton; as well as the opening of the first major private art museum in Africa- The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which will be opening in late 2016 in Cape Town on the V&A Waterfront.
Things To Do & See:
When visiting South Africa there are many things to do and see. Cape Town and Johannesburg are must-sees.
— In Cape Town: take a Township Tour, experience traditional African Cooking, check out the District 6 Museum and go on a tour of battlefields.
— In Johannesburg: tour the Apartheid Museum, see the island that once was a prison, which held Nelson Mandela- Robben Island, and take a bicycle tour of Soweto.
— There are also gorgeous natural wonders to see, such as the Cradle of Humankind and Sterkfonein Cave, Table Mountain Victoria Falls, Kruger National Park, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and of course the Penguins along the beach front.
These are just a few of the examples of the amazing things that are South Africa. If you’re looking for a getaway that is steeped in heritage, culture & arts, and natural wonders—look no further, South Africa awaits. Give us a call today at 312-951-8517, and we’ll help you plan the adventure of a lifetime! For sample itineraries, click here.