Social Media’s ignorance to Heritage Day

It’s always amazing when a public holiday approaches. In the content world, it means boosting the most creative content because we know activity will be high on that day. With the history of South Africa comes many days of remembrance which are known today as public holidays. To date, there are 14 of them, meaning there are 14 days that the corporate world shuts downs in the year in addition to weekends. While the aim in social media space is to set a tribute to the meaning of the day, many brands are starting to go beyond what is acceptable and focus on the colloquial meaning of the day.

Heritage Day in South Africa is celebrated on 24 September.

On this day, South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people.

Somehow this day has been used as a ‘braai day’ and people are encouraged to light up the grill, pop open a beer, invite friends over and celebrate. While it seems as a good gesture, it does not fully encapsulate what South African culture is to pretty much a majority of its population. The term braai day has been so overwashed that it distracts people from embracing their own culture through a practice of eating.

So where does this fit in the content world?

For years, brands ignore the significance of the day to encourage this practice. It has largely become an inappropriate exploitation of a great South African tradition of embracing a diverse nation. Just so you can see examples of this, I have added a couple of screen shots:

For anyone in the marketing and advertising industry, I urge you to steer away from this as many of my fellow professionals have already abandoned it.

For the average consumer reading this, let’s get back to basics. Look outside your window right now. South Africa is amazing. The sun is shining, the air is clean, the birds are chirping and although there’s a lot in the news to freak you out, there’s so much more that we should be proud of. And most importantly, our diversity is one of them. Don’t fall victim to the braai day click bait dilemma.


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