Day of Reconciliation (Public Holiday)

Different racial groups stand together for the sake of the future of South Africa


Coming into effect after the 1994 democratic elections, the Day of Reconciliation – 16 December – was inaugurated to help South Africans reconcile the horrors of the past and the promise of a shared future together, regardless of race, culture or creed.

However, during the Apartheid era, 16 December was known as Day of the Vow (also known as Day of the Covenant or Dingaan's Day). The public holiday was created to commemorate a vow taken by the Voortrekkers, a group of Afrikaaners who had moved inland to escape the clutches of British colonialism, in preparation for a battle with the Zulu people with which they were having a land dispute.

The Voortrekkers, who had moved onto and claimed the Zulu people’s land, took a vow before God that they would build a church for their descendants to observe the day as a day of thanksgiving should they be granted victory. More than 10 000 Zulu troops under the command of Dambuza (Nzobo) and Nhlela attacked the Voortrekkers on 16 December 1838, but the 470 Voortrekkers, with the advantage of gunpowder, warded them off. Only three Voortrekkers were wounded, but more than 3 000 Zulus were killed during what would become known as the ‘Battle of Blood River’.

In the 1920s and 1930s the public holiday became a day on which the divide between white South Africans and black South Africans became especially gaping. Those who felt discriminated against by the nation’s unfair laws began staging protests and holding meetings on this day to communicate their dissent and to rally against a day that celebrated the Afrikaans conquest of the indigenous African. Even into the 1960s, the day retained significance; on 16 December 1961 uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) (Spear of the Nation) the military wing of the ANC announced its existence by launching its first acts of sabotage.

With the advent of democracy and a gallant gesture by the new government in South Africa, 16 December retained its status as a public holiday, however, this time with the intent of building a nation and unity amongst its people.

Check out our overview of things to do on the Day of Reconciliation in Cape Town.

2018 CALENDAR OF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA


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Plan your year with our nifty overview of public holidays in South Africa. Alternatively, have a squiz at our guide to annual December events to find out about more hot happenings taking place during the month.

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Check out our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

 

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Cape Town Events Calendar
November 2018
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Strolla Restaurant and Bar in Sea PointGet Irie On The Sunset Deck At Strolla ...

Live reggae music every Saturday at Strolla: sprawl out on the Corona Sunset Deck as the ...

OX Seals 04Smile: You Get 10% Off Seal Snorkelling ...

Up close with wild Cape fur seals in small, intimate excursions that are super special, ...

the_fort_food_truck_marketThe Fort Food Truck Market – Fridays ...

A new weekly arts, craft and food market with live entertainment, and a wine and beer ...

Cape Town Helicopters Generic NEW 3Fly Fridays: Helicopter Rides For Less

Want that extra-special experience to round off the week? These are the city’s most ...

Om Revolution Outdoor Yoga 2Now You Can Channel Your Inner Yogi At ...

Perfect your oms by the ocean

legends_live_in_concertCelebrate The Music Legends All On One ...

A talented 10-piece cast impersonates music legends to perfection

lrc_poetry_workshop_linda_kaomaSharpen Your Writing Skills At This ...

Life Righting Collective (LRC) and professional writer and poet Linda Kaoma will turn you ...

Roast and Co Daily: Two Hours of 2-For-1 Specials at ...

Plus: Half-price on all “To Share” plates – see what’s on the menu here

hq friday feels HQ Friday Feels: Dinner and Dancing on ...

Chill jazzy beats while you enjoy dinner, then the dance floor opens at 9pm till late

Boschendal_FridayMarket2Fresh: Friday Night Market in the ...

Rain or shine: Now more farm-fresh food stalls and seating, plus: local music and great ...

KewpieAn Inspiring Message of Diversity and ...

The vibrant diversity of District Six comes alive with an exhibition about a famously ...

Park Inn_Rooftop1Friday Night Live DJ on the Rooftop at ...

Forget the traffic: watch the sun set to cool SA house vibes with after-work sundowners ...

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Children's Events Cape TownSave on your kids’ birthday party ...

Make your kids’ birthday party extra special with outdoor laser tag with Battlefield ...

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative ...

surfing muizenbergLearn To Surf Or Perfect Your Skills In ...

New to the surfing game? You’re in good hands at African Soul Surfer

African Soul Surfer Backpackers in Cape TownBook a Surf and Yoga Retreat at the ...

This week-long surf and yoga camp includes breakfast, accommodation and all your ...

Jack BlackBeers and Bands at Jack Black Brewery ...

Every Friday night the Jack Black stage is lit up with local talent

Just Like Papa 1Just Like Papa: The Ultimate Place to ...

Finally, there’s a place in Cape Town where you can get exceptional home, camping, ...

faded friday 4Get Faded: Head To Woodstock To ...

Faded Friday celebrates the much-loved fade haircut

SA IdolsAll the Times Capetonians Entertained ...

Though auditions for 2018 are closed, Cape Town did us proud during SA Idols Season 14

Le Bonheur 10Snap up a Pizza and Reptile Adventure ...

Enjoy a delicious wood-fired pizza while taking a tour of the crocodile pond or the snake ...

Under Oaks 4Have a Turkish-French Affair With This ...

Indulge all your senses by trying the delicious wine and sweet pairing at Under Oaks in ...

Fire and Ice Weekend PartyParty in the Fire & Ice Hotel Lobby ...

Live DJ, killer cocktails, 38 gourmet milkshakes and the chance to meet exciting new ...

Ubuntu Climbs 365 3How Many Hikes Up Table Mountain Does ...

A hike a day gets the funds raised. This guy is hiking Table Mountain every single day of ...

Kiff Kombi - Durbanville - 1Experience Cape Town's Most Spirited ...

All aboard, gin lovers! Here’s what to expect on a tour of Cape Town’s quaintest, ...

Cartel House 10Grab Yourself Free Flapjacks Every ...

Members only: Luxury co-working office space Cartel House serves up hot and fresh ...

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark ...

Sgt pepper live musicRam Jam Rock Parties at Sgt Pepper

The head-banging, guitar twanging rockin’ good times are back

Aces 'n' SpadesFriday Night Live at Aces ‘n’ Spades

They will rock you

Cloud 9 Hotel 3Spa and Sparkling Wine Special at ...

OX Seals 04Smile: You Get 10% Off Seal Snorkelling ...

Up close with wild Cape fur seals in small, intimate excursions that are super special, ...

astrology outreachBring the Family: Free Stargazing ...

Astronomical Society offers high-powered telescopes for everyone to enjoy at the V&A ...

Christmas Cake Decorating ClassMake Your Own Christmas Cake Figurines ...

Do Christmas better than ever with your own homemade Christmas cake figurines

liefde-by-die-damFall In Love With Live Music At The Dam

A day out with your besties or with the whole family to enjoy live music from Francois ...

legends_live_in_concertCelebrate The Music Legends All On One ...

A talented 10-piece cast impersonates music legends to perfection

lrc_poetry_workshop_linda_kaomaSharpen Your Writing Skills At This ...

Life Righting Collective (LRC) and professional writer and poet Linda Kaoma will turn you ...

kiff kombi craft beer Craft Beer Safari with Kiff Kombi Tours

Here’s how to experience the best in Cape Town’s craft beer scene and get 15% off ...

tedxPause & Effect – TEDxCapeTown Main ...

Listen to local thought leaders discuss how every single action causes shifts in energy ...

Roast and Co Daily: Two Hours of 2-For-1 Specials at ...

Plus: Half-price on all “To Share” plates – see what’s on the menu here

Roast and Co 9Saturday Lunch Fun at Roast & Co.

Every Saturday in the historic Heritage Square courtyard, Roast & Co. serves up terrific ...

eden experienceDon’t Miss this Outdoor Dance Music ...

An international DJ plus many locals DJs, food vendors, stunning venue and immeasurable ...

Coco Safar 7The Saturday Spoil: Luxury Breakfast at ...

Sea Point’s premier all-day cafe offers a breakfast worth waking up early for

KewpieAn Inspiring Message of Diversity and ...

The vibrant diversity of District Six comes alive with an exhibition about a famously ...

hint-hunt-zen-room-3Cape Town’s Most Mysterious Tourist ...

Be sure to add this exhilarating live group escape game challenge to your Mother City ...

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Children's Events Cape TownSave on your kids’ birthday party ...

Make your kids’ birthday party extra special with outdoor laser tag with Battlefield ...

Kaapse Stories at The Rockwell TheatreDinner and a Show with Rockwell Theatre

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in Cape Town gets told to your mom, ...

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative ...

Radisson Blu 12Save on Having Your Dream Wedding at ...

Have a stress-free wedding when hosting it at this city location

Leopard's Leap Harvest Table 1Savour the Lekker in What's Local at ...

Discover South Africa through its flavours and traditions at a family-table event ...

Jack BlackBeers and Bands at Jack Black Brewery ...

Every Friday night the Jack Black stage is lit up with local talent

V&A Food Market 3Free Live Music and Affordable ...

With 42 artisanal street food vendors and retail products and free live music every ...

SA IdolsAll the Times Capetonians Entertained ...

Though auditions for 2018 are closed, Cape Town did us proud during SA Idols Season 14

Under Oaks 4Have a Turkish-French Affair With This ...

Indulge all your senses by trying the delicious wine and sweet pairing at Under Oaks in ...

Fire and Ice Weekend PartyParty in the Fire & Ice Hotel Lobby ...

Live DJ, killer cocktails, 38 gourmet milkshakes and the chance to meet exciting new ...

Beluga Live Music Event 2Live Music Every Saturday at Beluga

Enjoy fresh and vibey live music every Saturday at Beluga

Ubuntu Climbs 365 3How Many Hikes Up Table Mountain Does ...

A hike a day gets the funds raised. This guy is hiking Table Mountain every single day of ...

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark ...

Just Like Papa 6Pop into Just Like Papa this Saturday ...

Gold-class vicar knives, Swedish-made hunter’s hatchets and one-of-a-kind handcrafted ...

A Touch Of Madness Burgers and Beers 4Saturdays are for Sunny Daytime Parties ...

Touchdown Saturdays’ DJ, drink specials and sunny courtyard are ideal for summer ...

Sgt pepper live musicRam Jam Rock Parties at Sgt Pepper

The head-banging, guitar twanging rockin’ good times are back

cape_town_startup_weekCohesion, Cape Town-Style At Start-Up ...

Our city has quickly established itself as a world leader in tech ...

Sam Nhlengethwa Waiting 2A First In 20 Years: Sam Nhlengethwa ...

One of South Africa’s pre-eminent artists is exhibiting at a classic gallery ...

mary-annsMary-Ann's Emporium & Eatery Now In ...

A variety of natural and organic food such as gluten-free and wholefood ...

Battlefield Live in SA 2Battlefield Live SA Launches New Venue ...

New venue, the same good laser tag fun

the_ultimate_weekenderThe Ultimate Weekender

Featuring Black Coffee and Zonke, this a party you don’t want to miss

tesselaardal_annual_festivalColourful Festival In Village That Time ...

Share a day of joy at the Tesselaarsdal Annual Festival and enjoy mountain ...

Black Friday NEW: Black Friday Deals: 90% Off ...

We’ve got the scoop on Cape Town Black Friday deals online and in-store

Streetopia ObservatoryAfrikaBurn Inspired Art, Live Music And ...

A fusion of street festival and AfrikaBurn at this unmissable community event

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