Teaching Your Children About Their Own Heritage

Teaching Your Children About Their Own Heritage

South Africa is a culturally diverse country. Therefore it is important to teach our children about the different cultures that make up our Rainbow Nation. Heritage Month provides an opportunity to teach them to appreciate not only their own culture but also to understand, respect and appreciate other people’s cultures too.

There are positive aspects in all cultures and we can learn and develop our minds by understanding other cultures. We have shared some activities that you can carry out with your children to teach them about our proudly South African Heritage.

Teaching children about diversity by asking them questions about their heritage and culture.

South African Flag

What colours do we have in the South African flag?
Green, black, white, gold, red and blue.

What shapes do we have in our flag?
Green Y-shape with white and gold borders, black triangle. Red and blue sections separated by the Y-shape.

What does the shape symbolize?
The central design begins at the flagpost in a V-form that flows into a single horizontal band. This represents the diverse elements within our society that converges where we all take the road ahead in unity.

Why is a flag special?
The flag represents a country’s values, beliefs and history. It represents a sense of national pride for all the people in the country and can unite people from different cultural groups within the country.

Official languages

How many official languages does South Africa have?

There are only 11 official languages. We have however at least 35 languages that are indigenous to South Africa.

What are our 11 official languages (order of most spoken)? 

IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Afrikaans, English, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Xitsonga, Tshvenda, siSwati, isiNdebele

What is a culture?

It is a pattern of behaviour shared by groups of people. Many things can make up culture such as food, language, clothing, music, art, customs, belief and religion.

Can I choose my culture?

Yes, you can choose your own culture. Most children grow up adopting their parent’s culture.

What makes me part of the culture?

You are part of the culture if you share the beliefs, values and/or religion of that group.

Share examples of different cultural foods?

Umngqusho (Samp and beans), Smiley (Sheep’s head), Amagwinya (vetkoek), Kota, Gatsby, Mogodu (tripe), Morogo (spinach), Mopani Worms, Chakalaka and Pap (relish-type sauce and maize meal), Bunny Chow, Potjiekos, Pickle Fish, Bokkoms (salted and dried mullet fish), Babotie (minced meat dish), Boerewors, Biltong, Koeksisters, Melktert and Malva Pudding.

What is a cultural festival, celebration or an occasion?

Shaka day (24 September) – Thousands of Zulus and the king celebrate Shaka and Zulu heritage.

Umkhosi WoMhlangha – Reed Dance festival at the Royal Zulu Palace in September. There is also an annual reed dance in Swazi culture

Dinaka Music and Dance Festivals (Pedi)

Cape Minstrel Carnival in Cape Town

Basotho Cultural Village in the Golden Gate National Park

Langarm or sokkie dances

Muchongolo dancing competition on Good Friday and Christmas (Tsonga)

Annual Musangwe (traditional Venda fist fighting tournament)

Famous Ndebele prints from Esther Mahlanghu

Chinese New Year and Song Jong (Moon Festival)

Jewish celebration is a barmitzvah, batmitzvah or wedding

Our national animals

Why are the following list of animals special to SA?
Springbok, Blue Crane, Rhino, Lion

The Springbok is the national animal of South Africa.

The Blue Crane is the national bird of South Africa

Rhino is considered one of the “Big Five” most dangerous animals and is home to 80% of the Rhino population.

The Lion is also considered one of the “Big Five” animals

Our national anthem

Our national anthem is made up of several languages; isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English.

Teach your children to sing the national anthem.

Have the children make a traditional instrument from unused materials. Then try play the instruments with your children to create a rhythm.

Original article by Natalie Frank on Cotlands website.


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