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NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS. South Africa has 12 public holidays determined by the Public Holidays Act The Act determines whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following on it shall be a public holiday. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS. HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 21 March.

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NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS


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    1. NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS

    2. South Africa has 12 public holidays determined by the Public Holidays ActThe Act determines whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following on it shall be a public holiday

    3. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

    4. HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 21 March • The Native Laws Amendment Act of 1952 extended Government control over the movement of Africans to urban areas and abolished the use of the Pass Book (a document which Africans were required to carry on them to ‘prove’ that they were allowed to enter a ‘white area’) in favour of a reference book which had to be carried at all times by all Africans. • Failure to produce the reference book on demand by the police, was a punishable offence. The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) proposed an anti-Pass campaign to start on 21 March 1960. All African men were to take part in the campaign without their passes and present themselves for arrest. • Campaigners gathered at police stations in townships near Johannesburg where they were dispersed by police. At the Sharpeville police station a scuffle broke out. Part of a wire fence was trampled, allowing the crowd to move forward. The police opened fire, apparently without having been given a prior order to do so. Sixty-nine people were killed and 180 wounded. • In apartheid South Africa this day became known as Sharpeville Day and although not part of the official calendar of public holidays the event was commemorated among anti-apartheid movements

    5. FREEDOM DAY27 April • Freedom Day commemorates the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994.

    6. WORKERS DAY1 May • Workers' Day celebrates the role played by trade unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against apartheid.  It originated from May Day, which was born from the industrial struggle for an eight-hour day.

    7. YOUTH DAY16 June • In 1975 protests started in African schools after a directive from the then Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools. The issue, however, was not so much the Afrikaans as the whole system of Bantu education which was characterised by separate schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers. On 16 June 1976 more than 20 000 pupils from Soweto began a protest march. In the wake of clashes with the police, and the violence that ensued during the next few weeks, approximately 700 hundred people, many of them youths, were killed and property destroyed. • Youth Day commemorates these events.

    8. NATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY9 August • This day commemorates 9 August 1956 when women participated in a national march to petition against pass laws (legislation that required African persons to carry a document on them to ‘prove’ that they were allowed to enter a ‘white area’).

    9. HERITAGE DAY24 September • "The day is one of our newly created public holidays and its significance rests in recognising aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and difficult to pin down: creative expression, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the land in which we live. • Government determines a theme for each year’s celebrations.

    10. DAY OF RECONCILIATION16 December • 16 December is a day of great significance in South Africa because of two historical events that took place on that date. • In apartheid 16 December was known as Day of the Vow, as the Voortrekkers in preparation for the Battle of Blood River on 16 December 1838 against the Zulus took a Vow before God that they would build a church and that they and their descendants would observe the day as a day of thanksgiving should they be granted victory. • The second historical event that took place on 16 December was in 1961, when the military wing of the ANC, was formed. This military wing mostly performed acts of sabotage, but its effectiveness was hampered by organizational problems and the arrest of its leaders in 1963. Despite this, its formation was commemorated every year since 1961.

    11. DAY OF RECONCILIATION16 December • With the advent of democracy in South Africa 16 December retained its status as a public holiday. South Africa's first non-racial and democratic government was tasked with promoting reconciliation and national unity. One way in which it aimed to do this symbolically was to acknowledge the significance of the 16 December in both the Afrikaner and liberation struggle traditions and to rename this day as the Day of Reconciliation. • On 16 December 1995, the Day of Reconciliation was celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa for the first time.