Public Holidays In South Africa
There are 12 public holidays in South Africa as per the latest Public Holidays Act No 36 of 1994. The year when Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President of South Africa. According to this new act, whenever public holidays in South Africa falls on a Sunday, then the following Monday will be regarded as a public holiday.
It is interesting to note that 2013 will only have 11 public holidays due to one of them falling on a Saturday. Citizens of South Africa normally like to getaway to visit the coastal areas in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Holiday makers love going away whenever there is an opportunity for it. Especially during the school holidays. Let us take a closer look at South African Public Holidays.
Dates of South African Public Holidays
1 January – New Year’s Day – Celebrated with excitement and happiness all over South Africa, New Year’s marks the beginning of new goals and aspirations for many South Africans. Due to the warm summer weather it is often celebrated along the coastal areas where people have either a picnic or braai (Terminology used for barbecues), celebrating this joyous occasion by gathering together with friends and family.
2 January – This holiday is only observed by some, but is not declared as a public holiday. The Cape Coloureds in the Western Cape area are known for their colourful attire that they wear in the streets of Cape Town, South Africa. People come from far and wide to view this spectacular event and you will often find smaller groups of people sitting along the sidewalks of some of the main streets observing the events while enjoying meals with their family and friends.
21 March – Human Rights Day – This day is in commemoration of what happened back on 21 March 1960 when African men who were gathered together after being arrested for failure of producing a Pass Book (Document that gave Africans the right to enter a White area). Then they accidentally broke a fence while moving forward. The police opened fire and killed 69 people and wounded 180. From then on this event was commemorated by anti-apartheid movements.
6 April 2012 – Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday) People in South Africa commemorate the crucification of Jesus Christ and many people attend Church on this day. It is also the start of the Easter weekend where many folks make use of this opportunity to meet up with friends and family in various parts of the country.
9 April 2012 – Easter Monday (Monday after Easter Sunday) celebrated as a holiday where families spend time together having a good time sharing various festivities and family meals.
27 April – Freedom Day – Celebration of what is known to be the first democratic elections in 1994 when Nelson Mandela of the ANC became the President of South Africa
1 May – Workers day – Also called Labour Day or May Day where tribute is being paid to workers everywhere
16 June – Youth Day – This is an anniversary of the Soweto uprising back in 1976 where many youngsters were killed.
9 August – Women’s Day – Women demonstrated against the pass laws in 1956
24 September – Heritage Day – South Africans honour their historical heritage, the natural beauty and cultural diversity on this day
16 December – Day of Reconciliation – This day is of great significance because of two separate historical events that took place. The first account was the battle at the Blood River in 1838 between the Boers and Zulus. The second account was the formation of MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe), the military wing of the ANC in 1961 on the same day.
25 December – Christmas Day, where most South African spend quality time with their families handing out present in commemoration of Jesus’ birth.
26 December – Family Day – Most families spend this day together and have a very peaceful time celebrating the public holiday, participating in various fun activities on the beaches, parks, museums, and other outdoor places of interest.