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Day of Reconciliation (South African Public Holiday)

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Day of Reconciliation (South African Public Holiday)

A SA public holiday where all racial groups are invited to come together to promote reconciliation and national unity for the future of South Africa

In South Africa, the Day of Reconciliation is a public holiday that was created post-1994 by SA’s first non-racial and democratic government with the intention to foster reconciliation between different racial groups and aimed at promoting national unity and focusing people’s attention on the shared future of South Africa.

And, it’s perhaps best encapsulated by beloved former president Nelson Mandela’s words in his 1996 speech at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town:

WATCH: NELSON MANDELA ON RECONCILIATION AND UNITY

In 2018, 16 December falls on a Sunday, which means that the following Monday 17 December is a public holiday. Long weekend anyone? Discover exciting and interesting things to do over the Day of Reconciliation weekend.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF 16 DECEMBER
The date of the annual observance, 16 December, traditionally held significance for different groups of South Africans. Previously known as the Day of the Vow in Afrikaner culture, it marked the commemoration of the Battle of Blood River in 1838.

More recently, though, 16 December 1961 was the day of the formation of the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC), Umkhonto we Sizwe (the Spear of the Nation). This is important as it marked a turning point in SA history where the ANC launched an armed struggle against the then-ruling apartheid government.

Before this day, the ANC promoted mainly passive resistance. But the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960 changed all of that. Police indiscriminately opening fire on peaceful protestors sparked the creation of Umkhonto we Sizwe the following year. The rest is history. And Umkhonto we Sizwe has been celebrated on 16 December ever since.

A NEW MEANING: DAY OF RECONCILIATION
South Africa’s first democratically-elected government under former president Nelson Mandela in 1994 ventured to give 16 December a new meaning in the minds of South Africans. The aim was to take the day, which had significance for various cultural groups, and change its symbolism to one of promoting reconciliation and unity. And on 16 December 1995, the first-ever Day of Reconciliation was celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa – as it has been ever since.

 

CALENDAR OF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA

JANUARY

1 JAN

New Year's Day

MARCH

21 MAR

Human Rights Day

30 MAR

Good Friday

APRIL

1 APR

Family Day (Easter Sunday)

27 APR

Freedom Day

MAY

1 MAY

Worker’s Day

JUNE

16 JUN

Youth Day

AUGUST

9 AUG

National Women's Day

SEPTEMBER

24 SEP

Heritage Day

DECEMBER

16 DEC

Day of Reconciliation

25 DEC

Christmas Day

26 DEC

Day of Goodwill

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Explore things to do this Day of Reconciliation in Cape Town and new events every weekend.

Discover more events in December, as well as things to do over Christmas in Cape Town and where to find exciting New Year’s Eve parties.

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Cape Town Events Calendar
December 2020
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Maker's LandingMaker’s Landing, the Waterfront’s ...

Sticky koesisters, authentic Cape Malay curry and gorgeous harbour views

TEARSSupport A Forever-Dog or Cat This ...

Forget about Black Friday. Shop ‘til you drop at this market and support a good cause ...

One&Only A glamorous escape at One&Only Cape ...

A resort holiday with special experiences for less than ever

Distillers & Union Make your unique brand of gin

And there’s more: vodka, rum, fiery ginger beer plus the chance to tour this working ...

africamps7Discover South Africa with these great ...

From the pet-friendly Stanford Hills to a camp located on a large fishing dam in Limpopo

Station on Bree Mini Gin FestThe Station on Bree: Mini Gin Fest

Award-winning gins, fruity garnishes, live music and a tapas special for two

café rouxCafe Roux Noordhoek has an exciting ...

See Matthew Mole, The Kiffness, Fintry and more live at Café Roux this month

trail fit sa Discover a new Western Cape hiking ...

Find a secret waterfall or meet sleeping bats in a 150m long cave

virtual_garden3Discover the McGregor Magic Virtual ...

Explore South Africa’s amazing biodiversity without leaving home

Watershed 2Known favourites and new discoveries at ...

825 square-meters of the best in African art, craft, design, and now beauty

Biscuit MillSay hello to the new Neighbourgoods ...

Fresh produce, handmade jewellery, locally designed clothes and delicious food

cape point vineyard 3Enjoy an idyllic weekend walk at Cape ...

Get a 360-degree view of the mountain, the fynbos, the vineyards and the ocean

robin_hoodLunch is sorted at Robin Hood Burger ...

Robin Hood in Kloof Street has basket lunch deals every day

The grill father The Grillfather is back with a hearty ...

Enjoy their 2.8kg pure beef patty and backyard braai vibes

Flea MarketMilnerton Flea Market: a treasure trove ...

From antiques and trinkets to a variety of second-hand items

spring_2Bradwell Spring: Vredehoek’s fresh ...

It’s the second formalised spring water collection point built by the City

spring_1Newlands Spring: Cape Town’s ...

Rules are in place to ensure everyone’s safety

Biscuit MillYour favourite Biscuit Mill vendors are ...

Browse your favourite vendors for food, crafts and clothing at the weekly market

VW_October_promotions4Barons Cape Town VW is open to the ...

Quicker services and courtesy cars for essential workers

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