History and heritage

16 December: a day to learn from the past

South Africa's public holiday known as the Day of Reconciliation acknowledges the significance of 16 December to both the Afrikaner and liberation struggle traditions. A day once steeped in blood, the public holiday now marks a time for reflection and recognition of the country's rich cultural history.

Sharpeville Remembered

Celebrating 60 years of the Women's Charter

Sixty years ago, 164 women of all races, representing 230000 women from a range of struggle organisations and trade unions, gathered in Johannesburg to draw up the Women's Charter, one of the first documents to map out a vision for a post-apartheid South Africa.


Remembering what Gandhi gave South Africa, one century later

One hundred years have passed since Mahatma Gandhi left South Africa to return to India. The lessons he left have not been forgotten, and continue to inspire South Africans as the country builds a cohesive and inclusive national identity.


Black WWI soldier reburied alongside white comrades

Private Myengwa Beleza, a South African who died on the battlefields of France almost a century ago, on Sunday became the first black soldier to be buried alongside 600 of his white compatriots at a South African World War I memorial in northern France.


A short history of South Africa

Take a brief tour through the rich, dramatic history of South Africa: from the earliest inhabitants through colonisation to the discovery of diamonds and gold and the war that followed; from the formation and evolution of black resistance, through three decades of crisis to the eventual death of apartheid.

More stories ...

Select from:

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". >