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Public Holidays

Young minstrel in fancy dress
Cape's New Year celebrations include a Minstrel Carnival

There are 12 public holidays in South Africa annually, among them special days to honour workers, youth, women, freedom, heritage and human rights.  Many public holidays in South Africa revolve around historical events that have deep meaning and significance for the population.

South Africa's public holidays in 2011 are:

New Year's Day January 1
Human Rights Day March 21
Good Friday (Friday before Easter) April 22
Family Day (Monday after Easter) April 25
Freedom Day April 27
 Workers Day May 1
Additional public Holiday
Youth Day June 16
National Women's Day August 9
Heritage Day September 24
Day of Reconciliation December 16
Christmas Day December 25
Day of Goodwill December 26

The Public Holidays Act of 1994 determines that whenever a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it will be a public holiday. Should a public holiday fall on a Saturday, it is celebrated on that day.

With the possible exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, most tourist services and attractions are open on South African public holidays.  In addition most city shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues remain open. The business world, however, takes the opportunity for a well-deserved break.