South Africans celebrated Heritage Day yesterday. It’s a public holiday to celebrate our differences and take credence of your heritage, your cultural origins. People enjoy celebrating the day as a lot get dressed in their traditional clothing and eat traditional food. It’s like a fancy function across the country really. People obviously feel strong about their ancestry and so they should.
I, however, have a strange problem: I don’t relate to any heritage other than South African. While other South Africans don Sotho, Zulu, Afrikaans, Pedi, Welsh or whatever gear I don’t have any defined culture to relate to. I know we’re all different but in my mind we’re all the same – South African. My parents (one Afrikaans and one English) are “just” South African and therefore so am I. Don’t get me wrong, I love being South African (in case you haven’t noticed) but that is also all I am when it comes to Heritage Day.
It feels unusual and yet in some way it makes me more proud to not have an origin to celebrate. I am truly South African – that is all. I accept that we are different but I like to think that we are the same. I wonder how long into the future my view on identity will become everyone else’s? After all, we are meant to be building an nation together.