On Monday people across South Africa will celebrate Heritage Day by dressing in traditional attire, getting together with friends over a hot braai, or even making the journey to KwaDukuza, the site of King Shaka Zulu’s grave.
The 24th September has long been celebrated in KwaZulu-Natal as Shaka’s Day or uMkhosi WeLembe, in honour of the legendary Zulu King who died on this day in 1828. However, with the change in government in 1994 the date was excluded from the Public Holiday’s Bill. The Inkatha Freedom Party petitioned to have King Shaka’s Day included, and it was decided that the commemoration would be renamed ‘Heritage Day’, in order to unite the country.
Many people still choose to use the public holiday to celebrate the proud history of the Zulu-speaking people by taking part in uMkhosi weLembe, also known as uMkhosi weNkosi uShaka or uMkhosi weSilo sakwaDukuza. Traditionally, this commemoration takes place in KwaDukuza, and is accompanied by singing and dancing, with speeches made by various leaders, including King Goodwill Zwelithini.
Nearly two hundred years after the death of Shaka, this legendary Zulu king is still very much a part of the story of KwaZulu-Natal, and there are a number of monuments and museums that commemorate his life:
- Ncome Museum
- The Blood River Heritage Site
- Dukuza Museum (Shaka Memorial Garden and Interpretive Centre)
- KwaZulu Cultural Museum
And of course the Durban Local History Museums are also definitely worth a visit during Heritage Month, so visit our home page to find a museum near you!