Johannesburg YEI Celebrates South African National Heritage Day

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South African National Heritage Day was celebrated at Johannesburg Yunus Emre Institute. The event on September 24, 2021 hosted the Republic of Turkey's Ambassador in Pretoria Ayşegül Kandaş as a speaker and the guest of honor, as well as Kazakhstan Ambassador Kanat Tumysh, many South Africans and art lovers. South African trainees presented and exhibited Turkish handicrafts within the scope of the event. In her speech, Ambassador Kandaş mentioned 2021 Year of Yunus Emre, as declared by the UNESCO, and expressed her happiness to celebrate the South African National Heritage Day in the Year of Yunus Emre and Turkish. "Since 2017, Yunus Emre Institute contributed to the friendly relations between South Africa and Turkey and brought Turks and South Africans together in an environment of peace, culture and beauty through various cultural activities." said Kandaş in her speech.



The representative of Johannesburg Yunus Emre Institute Abdülaziz Yiğit also mentioned that the National Heritage Day was a day in which people from all corners of South Africa get together and present their cultures and said, "We also celebrate this day with the traditional Turkish handicrafts exhibition together with South Africans ."

Yiğit stated that they have organized this event to consolidate the friendship between Turkey and South Africa and mentioned that they had the opportunity to present the traditional Turkish handicrafts to the South Africans during the event.

Yiğit mentioned that the Turkish language courses would be free for those who will register for the first time due to the 2021 being the Year of Yunus Emre and stated that they are planning to prepare a seminar in October with the theme of "Turkey and Yunus Emre from the Perspective of South Africans".


Alex Maswanganyi, a South African pencil illustrator, stated that he heard about the traditional Turkish handicraft courses organized by the Institute and that he recently enrolled in them. Maswanganyi stated his great interest in Turkish art and culture and mentioned that he started to draw the historical heritage of Turkey. Viba Jivan, one of the South African trainees of the Institute, delivered a presentation to the guests about the works of çini (tiles) and ceramics.


Phulemelele Sakina Daloma, Maryam Mkwanda and Khadija Siphokazi Boco, three of the event participants, explained the importance of the National Heritage Day for South Africans.

Daloma stated that the National Heritage Day brough together different ethnic groups and races within the country and said, "The most meaningful part of this day is that it reminds us of the cultures we belong."

Maryam Mkwanda emphasized the historical background of the day and said:

"The previous name of the National Heritage Day was Shaka Day. It took its name from the Zulu king Shaka the Magnificent. After the apartheid, we started to celebrate it as the Heritage Day in order to emphasize our national unity."

Mkwanda stated that they celebrated the cultural differences in this important day as South Africans from different ethnic groups and said, "Our differences are, in fact, our richness that brings us, the South Africans, together."

Khadija Siphokazi Boco, on the other and, stated that South Africans celebrated the National Heritage Day by wearing colorful dresses, dancing and cooking traditional food.

Boco emphasized that the Heritage Day was an important day that brought together people of different languages and colors and said, "This day is not only the day of South Africans but also the day of the people of different nations who come to our country."


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