Day of Reconciliation

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Day of Reconciliation
Observed by Republic of South Africa
Date 16 December
Next time 16 December 2016 (2016-12-16)
First time 14 December 1921
Related to Day of the Vow

The Day of Reconciliation is a public holiday in South Africa held annually on 16 December. The holiday came into effect in 1994 after the end of apartheid, with the intention of fostering reconciliation and national unity.[1]

Date and observance[edit]

The date was chosen because it was significant to both Afrikaner and African cultures. For Afrikaners, 16 December was commemorated as the Day of the Vow,[1] also known as Day of the Covenant or Dingaan's Day. The Day of the Vow was a religious holiday commemorating the Voortrekker victory over the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River in 1838, and is still celebrated by some Afrikaners. On the other side of the political spectrum, 16 December is also the anniversary of the 1961 founding of Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation"), the armed wing of the African National Congress.[1]

The day is also the de facto start of the sixteenth day of the South African summer holiday period. It is the first of four public holidays observed at the height of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, along with Christmas Day, Day of Goodwill and New Year's Day. Many small businesses close down and employees go on leave over this period.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Public Holidays". Government Communications. 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  2. ^ "When To Go To South Africa". Go2Africa Pty (Ltd). Retrieved 2011-02-16"South Africans tend to take their annual holidays ... mid-December to late January" 

External links[edit]