History and heritage

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

South Africa's tallest structures and buildings

South Africa has 54 skyscrapers and more than 20 high-rise structures that measure over 100 metres – and most of them are to be found in the City of Gold. Here is a list of the 10 highest buildings and other notable structures in the country.


Afrikaans language symposium discusses language and heritage

The recent Afrikaans Language Heritage Symposium addressed the conservation and up-liftment of one of South Africa's 11 official languages. The burning question for attendees was: are we leaving behind a living language?


Photographer Peter Magubane remembers June 16 with new book

Acclaimed South African photographer Peter Magubane has published a book of his historical photographs documenting the 1976 Soweto uprising. At the launch of the book, he remembers, 40 years later, how he strived to tell world of the darkness and brutality of apartheid.


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.

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SA History Online

New ways of teaching history, new insight into South Africa's past. >
Go to South African History Online

National flag

Whatever shape our flag takes, it's instantly recognised by South Africans everywhere. >
South Africa's 
national flag

National anthem

Uniting two anthems, five languages and over 49-million people. >

National symbols

What's that image on your R5 coin? What does !ke e: /xarra //ke mean? (Whose language is that?) ...
South Africa's national symbols

Nelson Mandela

Find out more about one of the great moral and political leaders of our time. >
Go to the 
Nelson Mandela page
South Africa's 
World Heritage sites

World heritage

Eight World Heritage sites: places of "outstanding value to humanity". >

Cultural 
experiences in South Africa

Heritage adventures

TFrom galleries to rock art centres, museums to cultural villages - discover our rich heritage for yourself. >

72 days that shaped South Africa

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