Celebrate Your Heritage

  • 22 September 2016 | By Anje Rautenbach

Every day is Heritage Day, but in September, heritage month, we have an official day committed to encourage South Africans to celebrate and embrace their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions.

Nelson Mandela Bay boasts nearly one hundred heritage sites, but when you look at the intricate colourful tapestry of South Africa, our heritage does not only reside in our historic buildings and sites, but it also exists within our houses, our stories, our families, the food we cook, the words we speak and the places we visit.

On heritage day this year – 24 September 2016 – there are plenty of heritage activities and festivals to keep you entertained; there is a free kids drumming and zulu dance workshop, Kragga Kamma Game Park offers free entry in celebration of World Rhino Day and Heritage Day and at CW Hendrickse Primary School in Uitenhage you can enjoy a day filled with culture and music at their TuturuFest. If you want to celebrate your Heritage Day with food, join the Heritage Day High Tea, visit the Rainbow Market as well as Valley Vibes, a festival of music, games and food.

If big crowds is not your cup of heritage tea, discover the Bay’s heritage sites and explore museums, old Victorian architecture and art.

We asked some local bloggers, Instagrammers, conservationists and travel gurus to share what heritage day means to them. They also shared which heritage site is their favourite in Nelson Mandela Bay and Donkin Reserve was definitely a top pick amongst everyone.

People of the Bay have their say about Heritage Day

Basil Parker, an Instagrammer from the Bay, shared:

Heritage day is for me as a South African a way of looking back, examining what we never knew or respected in the past, finding new history, untold stories of sacrifice which was kept away and hidden for political reasons.

My favourite heritage site in Nelson Mandela Bay is definitely the Donkin Reserve, mainly because I lived right next to it and the combination of both old and new history is so well combined. History and modernity all in one with the skateboard track and brighty coloured tiling and walls. Then there is the biggest flag in SA that stands so proud and tall and can be seen from all over the bay. This is a real must visit site and needs more national prominence. 

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Good Morning PE #portelizabeth #thisissouthafrica #igersportelizabeth #igerssouthafrica #sunrise #southafrica #cityofpe

Basil Parker(@basilparker)님이 게시한 사진님,


From a conservation point of view, Nikki and Wayne Bolton from the One Land Love It Expedition (which raises funds to support anti-rhino poaching initiatives), shared:

Heritage Day is a reminder to take stock of all that makes South Africa unique and to affirm that we have “One Land (and) Love It”. Our extraordinary natural heritage has tourists pouring in from all over the world as they tick off bucket lists.  Here in Nelson Mandela Bay we have the envious privilege of living on the doorstep of a cross-section of landscapes and experiences that we often take for granted or don’t fully appreciate!    

As Bay Residents we have the privilege of daily feasting our eyes on the majestic Algoa Bay, a resplendent landscape that defines our city and brings undoubted pleasure to many.  We have easy access to the mountain wilderness of the Baviaanskloof, the forests of Tsitsikamma (Garden Route National Park), the geological phenomenon of the Valley of Desolation (Camdeboo National Park), our rugged and magnificent coastline, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings inspired Hogsback and we are also surrounded by many game reserves boasting the Big Five including Shamwari, Kariega, Kwandwe and Kuzuko. 

You cannot get closer than Kragga Kamma Game Park for an opportunity to escape the rat race and appreciate how being under big blue skies in watching a rhino quietly graze, is food for the soul and encapsulates the ultimate South African experience.

Our favourite heritage site in Nelson Mandela Bay (and bush home) is Addo Elephant National Park.  Just a short drive from PE it is home to the Big Seven and the third largest conservation area in South Africa stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Little Karoo.  It incorporates the Alexandria Dunefield - one of the largest active dunefields in the world, Bird Island and St Croix - protected areas conserving our Cape Gannets and the critically endangered African Penguins, along with Southern Right Whales and Great White Sharks.  Committed and dedicated SANParks staff manage the conservation of our famous elephant population, the endangered black rhino and the vulnerable flightless dung beetle. 

As our land faces the vice of poaching which relentlessly erodes away at our natural heritage and we stand on the brink of extinction of some iconic species which define what makes South Africa unique and extraordinary – we cannot stand by and say we didn’t do something.  On heritage day we need to take stock of the privileges we have experienced as South Africans and make sure that future generations are allowed that same experience.  We have One Land…. Let’s Love It!

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Photo by One Land Love It


Odette Johaar, a lifestyle blogger, shared:

Heritage Day is our country’s coming together to celebrate our different cultures and diversity. Our country has a diverse cultural landscape and on Heritage Day we acknowledge the beauty in our differences and bring them together, as this is what makes us a rainbow nation.

My favourite heritage site in Nelson Mandela Bay is the Main Library.  The architecture of the Main Library makes it the most beautiful library in the city, but more importantly it is a treasure chest of knowledge. All my life I’ve loved reading, and I remember as a child going into the Main Library and staring in wonder at the combination of books and architectural design. As a child going to the Main Library was an event that I looked forward to.

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Sarah Dirsuwei, from the family travel blog Chasing the Rainbow, shared her family’s thoughts:

Heritage Day makes us feel so proud to be South African. We have such a colourful and vibrant heritage and it’s wonderful to focus collectively as a nation on the good things for a day.

My favourite heritage site in Nelson Mandela Bay is the Donkin Reserve. It celebrates so many years of  our beautiful city’s heritage – from the pyramid dedicated to Elizabeth Donkin after whom our city is named, to the voting line with Nelson Mandela at its helm, to the largest rainbow nation flag in the world, all surrounded with the most magnificent and meaningful outdoor artworks.

Follow them on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Blog  and also have a look at this beautiful photo they took of the Horse Memorial, another heritage site in Nelson Mandela Bay.


Jonker Fourie, a travel blogger sharing a photo a day from the Bay, shared:

Heritage Day is about celebrating where you come from, who you are and where you are going.  Everybody has a different heritage and if people want to celebrate it by having a braai, going for a walk on the beach, visiting heritage sites or attending a Heritage Day event then that is how each person should feel free to do so.  If we all celebrated the same thing in the same way this would be one boring country.

My favourite heritage site in Nelson Mandela Bay is the Donkin Reserve.  It combines old and new, colonial history and anti-apartheid struggle history, historic buildings and modern art pieces and is just a fun place to visit.

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Coral tree flowers on a gloomy Spring day on the Donkin Reserve

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We also checked in the Julie Olum, a travel blogger and vlogger from Kenya residing in the Bay and asked her about heritage day.

Heritage Day for me personally is taking inspiration from South Africans celebrating both old and new identities. I always end up reflecting on what’s shared and what’s different in my own Kenyan heritage and other African identities.

My favourite heritage site in Nelson Mandela Bay is the Donkin Reserve for sure. Particularly the pyramid and the little myths/legends that surround it!

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Instagrammer, Gary Blom, also shared the Donkin Reserve as his favourite heritage site with a beautiful photo he took from the lighthouse and said,

Heritage day, is a day where we are reminded to come together as one and celebrate our different heritages and cultures and how they adapted to one another in unity.

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The view of the #Donkin from the #donkinlighthouse #donkin #portelizabeth #southafrica #winterdays #sunny #colors #pyramid

Gary Blom(@garyblomphotography)님이 게시한 사진님,

What will you be doing this Heritage Day? Share your Heritage Day photos on social media and remember to use the #ShareTheBay hashtag!

Compiled by Anje Rautenbach, travel blogger at Going Somewhere Slowly. Follow her journeys around South Africa on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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