Why does South Africa celebrate Heritage Day?

Heritage Day celebrates the diversity of South Africa. It is one of the newer public holidays, declared after the republic became a democratic state in 1994. We look at the origins of the day, and recall the first celebration in 1996.

mosaic flag heritage South African flag

Public holiday on local elections date

To give all eligible South Africans the opportunity to vote in the local elections on 3 August 2016, the day has been declared a public holiday. All citizens who can vote are encouraged to visit polling stations and exercise their democratic right.

21 nominations for South Africa's new public protector

The Ad Hoc Committee formed to facilitate the appointment of a new public protector has received 21 nominations from the public. Nominees' names will be made available after 24 June. The position becomes vacant when the term of Thuli Madonsela, the incumbent, ends in October.

June 16 1976: The day youth changed South Africa's history

It took a single day for young South Africans to change the course of South Africa's history, setting us on the path to democracy. That day was 16 June 1976. Here is an hour-by-hour account of events as they unfolded, 40 years ago.

First time voters in South Africa speak out

Almost half of registered voters for South Africa's upcoming local elections are under the age of 40. Young people have taken an interest in the elections and recognised the importance of participating in an active democracy. First time voters share their thoughts.

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Planning Minister Trevor Manuel on the nine challenges facing South Africa.
Video: the 9 
Challenges Facing SA
The Constitution of 
South Africa


One of the most progressive in the world, with a Bill of Rights second to none.

South Africa's judiciary


An independent judiciary, subject only to the Constitution and the law.

Political parties in 
South Africa

Political parties

A vibrant multiparty political system, with 13 parties represented in Parliament.

The media in SA

South Africa boasts a free and independent press, liberalised public and commercial radio and TV, vibrant community radio, an expanding internet presence, and a resurgent film industry. Read more...
The media in 
South Africa

Democracy watchdogs

Nelson Mandela

Find out more about one of the great moral and political leaders of our time.
Go to the 
Nelson Mandela page

72 days that shaped SA

Just how "miraculous" was our transition to democracy? How close did we really come to civil war? Check out press clippings of the 72 days leading up to South Africa's first democratic elections - and see how heavily the odds were stacked against "the rainbow nation".