Public Holidays in South Africa


Page created : 1st July 2011
Page updated : 2nd December 2020

There are 12 officially recognised Public Holidays in South Africa as laid out in the Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994).

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following day, Monday, becomes a public holiday.

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2021

1st January Friday New Year’s Day
21st March Sunday Human Right’s Day
22nd March Monday Public Holiday
2nd April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
5th April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Tuesday Freedom Day
1st May Saturday Worker’s Day
16th June Wednesday Youth Day
9th August Monday National Women’s Day
24th September Friday Heritage Day
16th December Thursday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Saturday Christmas Day
26th December Sunday Day of Goodwill
27th December Monday Public Holiday

New Year’s Day (1st January)
The 1st of January falls exactly one week after Christmas, and has been recognised as the start of the new year for hundreds of years.
As such it is the world’s most widely observed public holiday.

Human Rights Day (21st March)
A public holiday to commemorate the massacre at Sharpeville on 21st March 1960.
The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) had organized a protest against two laws which dictated where blacks were allowed to live and restricted their movement by making them carry an identity document, commonly known as a dompas (dumb pass).
Feeling threatened, the police at the Sharpeville police station opened fire, apparently unprovoked, resulting in 69 deaths and 180 injuries.

Good Friday (a different Friday every year!)
A Christian holiday remembering the crucifixion of Jesus and His resultant death at Calvary.
Easter is the most significant holy day of the Christian Church, as it celebrates Christ’s resurrection.

Family Day (a different Monday every year!)
Easter Monday until being renamed Family Day in 1995. The intention is to create a long weekend where families and friends could spend more time together

Freedom Day (27th April)
Freedom Day commemorates the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27th April 1994.

Workers’ Day (1st May)
Workers’ Day, which takes its origins from May Day, celebrates the role played by trade unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against apartheid.

Youth Day (16th June)
Youth Day commemorates the march in Soweto on 16th June 1976, when more than 20,000 school children protested against Afrikaans being used as a teaching medium.
The inferior Bantu Education system as a whole was the true underlying cause.
Police intervened, and the ensuing violence left roughly 700 dead and massive damage to property.

National Women’s Day (9th August)
This day commemorates the national protest march, held on 9th August 1956, by women to petition against legislation that required blacks to carry the dompas.

Heritage Day (24th September)
This is a public holiday to commemorate everything that is typically South African – as varied as the land in which we live to our historical inheritance and our language and creative expression to the type of food we eat.
The intention is to promote the belief that these facets are a national asset and not a drawback and reason for conflict.

Day of Reconciliation (16th December)
Prior to 1994, the 16th December was known as “The Day of the Vow” in commemoration of the victory of the Voortrekkers over the Zulu army at the Battle of Blood River on the 16th December 1838.
With the advent of democracy in South Africa, 16th December was retained as a public holiday, but is now used to foster reconciliation and national unity.

Christmas Day (25th December)
Is an annual Christian festival that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ

Day of Goodwill (26th December)
A public holiday set aside to relax, recover from the over indulgence and show compassion

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2022

1st January Saturday New Year’s Day
21st March Monday Human Right’s Day
15th April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
18th April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Wednesday Freedom Day
1st May Sunday Worker’s Day
2nd May Monday Public Holiday
16th June Thursday Youth Day
9th August Tuesday National Women’s Day
24th September Saturday Heritage Day
16th December Friday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Sunday Christmas Day
26th December Monday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2023

1st January Sunday New Year’s Day
2nd January Monday Public Holiday
21st March Tuesday Human Right’s Day
7th April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
10th April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Thursday Freedom Day
1st May Monday Worker’s Day
16th June Friday Youth Day
9th August Wednesday National Women’s Day
24th September Sunday Heritage Day
25th September Monday Public Holiday
16th December Saturday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Monday Christmas Day
26th December Tuesday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2020

1st January Wednesday New Year’s Day
21st March Saturday Human Right’s Day
10th April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
13th April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Monday Freedom Day
1st May Friday Worker’s Day
16th June Tuesday Youth Day
9th August Sunday National Women’s Day
10th August Monday Public Holiday
24th September Thursday Heritage Day
16th December Wednesday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Friday Christmas Day
26th December Saturday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2019

1st January Tuesday New Year’s Day
21st March Thursday Human Right’s Day
19th April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
22nd April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Saturday Freedom Day
1st May Wednesday Worker’s Day
16th June Sunday Youth Day
17th June Monday Public Holiday
9th August Friday National Women’s Day
24th September Tuesday Heritage Day
16th December Monday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Wednesday Christmas Day
26th December Thursday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2018

1st January Monday New Year’s Day
21st March Wednesday Human Right’s Day
30th March Friday Good Friday (Always between March 22 and April 25)
2nd April Monday Family Day (Always between March 22 and April 25)
27th April Friday Freedom Day
1st May Tuesday Worker’s Day
16th June Saturday Youth Day
9th August Thursday National Women’s Day
24th September Monday Heritage Day
16th December Sunday Day of Reconciliation
17th December Monday Public Holiday
25th December Tuesday Christmas Day
26th December Wednesday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2017

1st January Sunday New Year’s Day
2nd January Monday Public Holiday
21st March Tuesday Human Right’s Day
14th April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
17th April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Thursday Freedom Day
1st May Monday Worker’s Day
16th June Friday Youth Day
9th August Wednesday National Women’s Day
24th September Sunday Heritage Day
25th September Monday Public Holiday
16th December Saturday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Monday Christmas Day
26th December Tuesday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2016

1st January Friday New Year’s Day
21st March Monday Human Right’s Day
25th March Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
28th March Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Wednesday Freedom Day
1st May Sunday Worker’s Day
2nd May Monday Public Holiday
16th June Thursday Youth Day
9th August Tuesday National Women’s Day
24th September Saturday Heritage Day
16th December Friday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Sunday Christmas Day
26th December Monday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2015

1st January Thursday New Year’s Day
21st March Saturday Human Right’s Day
3rd April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
6th April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Monday Freedom Day
1st May Friday Worker’s Day
16th June Tuesday Youth Day
9th August Sunday National Women’s Day
10th August Monday Public Holiday
24th September Thursday Heritage Day
16th December Wednesday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Friday Christmas Day
26th December Saturday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2014

1st January Wednesday New Year’s Day
21st March Friday Human Right’s Day
18th April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
21st April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Sunday Freedom Day
28th April Monday Public Holiday
1st May Thursday Worker’s Day
16th June Monday Youth Day
9th August Saturday National Women’s Day
24th September Wednesday Heritage Day
16th December Tuesday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Thursday Christmas Day
26th December Friday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2013

1st January Tuesday New Year’s Day
21st March Thursday Human Right’s Day
29th March Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
1st April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Saturday Freedom Day
1st May Wednesday Worker’s Day
16th June Sunday Youth Day
17th June Monday Public Holiday
9th August Friday National Women’s Day
24th September Tuesday Heritage Day
16th December Monday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Wednesday Christmas Day
26th December Thursday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2012

1st January Sunday New Year’s Day
2nd January Monday Public Holiday
21st March Wednesday Human Right’s Day
6th April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
9th April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Friday Freedom Day
1st May Tuesday Worker’s Day
16th June Saturday Youth Day
9th August Thursday National Women’s Day
24th September Monday Heritage Day
16th December Sunday Day of Reconciliation
17th December Monday Public Holiday
25th December Tuesday Christmas Day
26th December Wednesday Day of Goodwill

 

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2011

1st January Saturday New Year’s Day
21st March Monday Human Right’s Day
22nd April Friday Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
25th April Monday Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April Wednesday Freedom Day
1st May Sunday Worker’s Day
2nd May Monday Public Holiday
16th June Thursday Youth Day
9th August Tuesday National Women’s Day
24th September Saturday Heritage Day
16th December Friday Day of Reconciliation
25th December Sunday Christmas Day
26th December Monday Day of Goodwill
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