History and heritage
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.
Sixty years ago, 164 women of all races, representing 230 000 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.
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.
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.
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.
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