Heritage and culture
Did you know?
?The Liberation Struggle Heritage Route tells stories of South Africa's liberation struggle through a network of heritage sites.
South Africans are a diverse group and there is no one particular way to define the beauty and complexity of South African culture and heritage.
South Africa offers a cultural immersion that is both fascinating and insightful. It can open one's eyes to different ways of doing things, or to new insights into corporate structures, conflict resolution and leadership styles.
We invite you to explore through South African culture and heritage the essence of who we are - whether it's following a Hindu procession down Durban's streets during the Diwali festival, meeting a sangoma (traditional healer) at a traditional cultural village, or learning all about kwaito (African house music) at a local township shebeen.
Some of us come from quiet rural villages while others were born in urban areas. Some from across borders and others from across the oceans.
We worship different gods, feast at different tables and express who we are in many different ways. We also have an incredible history and our fight for freedom from oppression has allowed us to be open, accommodating and welcoming to all who live here and all who visit our shores.
Yes, we love our soccer and our rugby, and our sunny skies - what would a weekend be without a beer and braai (barbeque) on a warm summer's afternoon? But we also cherish our cultures - the Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Ndebele, Venda and Sotho traditions (amongst many others). What would life be without a traditional Cape Malay curry, rusks from an Afrikaans kitchen or a bunny chow from the corner café. Or how about pap 'n vleis (maize porridge and meat) just the way Gogo (granny) used to make it?
Our many cultural and historical sites provide insights into our fascinating past - from our Cape Dutch and Cape Malay heritage, the Gold Rush trail in Mpumalanga, the battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal - where the Zulu tribe defeated the British Empire - to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela and other great leaders of South Africa's liberation struggle were incarcerated.
You can take a township tour to Soweto, Alexandra or Kyaelitsha; visit the sacred sites of Venda, where you can learn about sacred fossils and python gods; taste chisa nyama for the first time followed with traditional African beer; imbibe the ancient history of the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape; explore our Freedom Struggle history; visit the outdoor art galleries of the Ndebele; shop for spices in Durban's busy Victoria Street; attend an Afrikaans music festival; and trace your DNA at the Origins Centre in Johannesburg.
Cultural tours are popular and there are a wide variety of options from Basotho cultural villages, to the Zulu, Xhosa, Shangaan, Pedi, and Ndebele villages. Here you can experience colourfully decorated mud and dung thatched huts; women adorned with beadwork grinding maize; singing, dancing and drumming; and folklore around a campfire with traditional foods.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
The National Heritage Council South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)12 348-1633/8233