Heritage day (24 September), also known as National Braai day encourages South Africans to come together to celebrate the rich cultural heritage and the diversity of our rainbow nation.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela concisely explained it when he said the following in a Heritage Day speech: “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation”.
Its so cool to celebrate sharks as part of our SA heritage…these magnificent creatures that roams our world oceans.
In actual fact great white shark conservation was pioneered in South Africa, the 1st country to declare this toothy predator a protected species. Perceptions have altered over the past 2 decades. Most adventure / conservation tourists don’t consider their trip complete until they have seen a shark, usually right here in Gansbaai in the Western Cape.
Of the 100-odd shark species swimming in South African waters, there is 1 that captures the imagination like no other – the great white shark. Their size alone has entered the realm of myth. Because they were feared, they were often killed, but that tide started to turn in 1991.
That was when South Africa became the 1st country in the world to introduce great white shark conservation. Great white sharks were proclaimed a protected species. Other countries followed, including Namibia, Australia, the United States and Malta.
It was also in the early 1990s that the shark tourism industry started. Soon former shark fishermen saw to their astonishment that people were willing to travel vast distances for a reasonable chance of seeing this marine predator. The great white shark is officially worth much more alive than dead.