Basics – Public Holidays and National Celebrations in South Africa

12 Jan 2018

South Africa has 12 public holidays. No matter how solemn their intention, they are regarded by most as shopping-extravaganza days. The city slows down dramatically from around December 16 each year until early January, with the shopping frenzy tapering off between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when locals take a break, often heading for the coast or to family in other provinces. Most big malls are open on public holidays (see Shopping for details). Whenever a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it is also a public holiday.

January 1 – New Year’s Day

March 21 – Human Rights Day. A public holiday in honour of human rights and to commemorate the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 when police opened fire on a crowd of unarmed people protesting against the Pass Book Laws, killing 69

March 30 – Good Friday

April 2– Family Day. Also known as Easter Monday.

April 27 – Freedom Day. A celebration of South Africa's successful fight for freedom and democracy. On this day in 1994 the first democratic elections were held in South Africa. 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of South Africa's democracy


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