Heritage Day Essay Guide for Grade 10 Learners

This page contains an essay guide for Grade 10 History learners on how to write a Heritage Day essay (introduction, body, and conclusion). On the 24th of September every year in South Africa, there is a great celebration of all cultures and heritages of all South Africans. This was after the Inkatha Freedom Party proposal in 1996.

Background on South African Heritage Day

Before you write your essay, you should first know what heritage day is and what it means.

The word ‘heritage’ can be used in different ways. One use of the word emphasises our heritage as human beings. Another use of the word relates to the ways in which people remember the past, through heritage sites, museums, through the construction of monuments and memorials and in families and communities (oral history). Some suggest that heritage is everything that is handed down to us from the past.

One branch of Heritage Studies engages critically (debates) with issues of heritage and public representations of the past, and conservation.

It asks us to think about how the past is remembered and what a person or community or country chooses to remember about the past. It is also concerned with the way the events from the past are portrayed in museums and monuments, and in traditions. It includes the issue of whose past is remembered and whose past has been left unrecognised or, for example, how a monument or museum could be made more inclusive.

Heritage Day Essay Guide for Grade 10 Learners

Important: you should include relevant images to go with your key points. You can find plenty of images on the internet, as long as you provide the credits/sources.

When you write your Heritage Day essay as a grade 10 student, you will get great marks if you include the following structure:

  • Introduction:
    • Provide a brief history linked to heritage day
    • The main key issues you will be discussing throughout your essay
  • The body:
    • Explain the changes that were made to this public holiday.
    • Explain how the day is celebrated in schools, families, workplaces and other institutions like churches etc.
    • How does the celebration of the holiday bring unity and close the gaps of the past?
    • Explain how the celebration of the day enforces the application of the constitution of South Africa.
  • Conclusion
    • What key points did your essay cover?
    • What new knowledge did you learn or discover?
    • What are your views on “Heritage Day”?

Example of “Heritage Day” Essay for Grade 10 Students

Below is an example of how to write an essay about Heritage Day for grade 10 learners, using the structure discussed above:


Heritage Day, celebrated on the 24th of September, is a South African public holiday that serves as a reminder of the nation’s rich cultural heritage and diverse history. The day was established to honor the various cultures, traditions, and beliefs that make South Africa a truly unique and diverse country. This essay will discuss the history of Heritage Day, the changes made to this public holiday, and how its celebration promotes unity and reinforces the South African Constitution.


Changes to Heritage Day:

Initially known as Shaka Day, Heritage Day was introduced to commemorate the legendary Zulu King Shaka who played a significant role in unifying various Zulu clans into one cohesive nation. However, with the advent of a democratic South Africa in 1994, the day was renamed Heritage Day to promote a broader and more inclusive celebration of the nation’s diverse cultural heritage.

Celebrations in Various Institutions:

Heritage Day is celebrated in numerous ways throughout South Africa, with schools, families, workplaces, and religious institutions all participating. In schools, students and teachers dress in traditional attire, and activities such as cultural performances, food fairs, and storytelling sessions are organized to educate learners about different cultural backgrounds. Families gather to share traditional meals, pass down stories, and engage in cultural activities. Workplaces often host events that encourage employees to showcase their diverse backgrounds, while churches and other religious institutions use the day as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of tolerance and acceptance.

Promoting Unity and Closing Gaps:

The celebration of Heritage Day has played a vital role in fostering unity and bridging the divides of the past. By appreciating and acknowledging the various cultures and traditions, South Africans learn to respect and accept one another, ultimately creating a more harmonious society. The public holiday serves as a platform to engage in conversations about the nation’s history, allowing for a better understanding of the diverse experiences that have shaped South Africa.

Enforcing the South African Constitution:

Heritage Day also reinforces the principles enshrined in the South African Constitution, which guarantees cultural and linguistic rights to all citizens. By celebrating and embracing the diverse cultures, South Africans put into practice the values of equality, dignity, and freedom as envisioned by the Constitution.


In this essay, we have explored the history and significance of Heritage Day, its transformation from Shaka Day, and how it is celebrated across various institutions in South Africa. We have also discussed how the celebration of this day fosters unity and enforces the principles of the South African Constitution. Heritage Day serves as a reminder that our differences make us stronger, and that through understanding and embracing our diverse backgrounds, we can build a more inclusive and united South Africa.

More Resources

Below are more previous resources you can download in pdf format:

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