On September 24th each year, we South African Slingers celebrate a holiday known as Heritage Day or “National Braai Day”. It’s a day on which South Africans across the country unite for a common good, to celebrate our diversity and the cultural wealth of our nation. Heritage Day plays an important role in promoting cultural diversity, social cohesion and reconciliation.
In a country with 11 different official languages (soon to be 12, once sign language is officially accepted!), Heritage Day is celebrated differently depending upon culture and region. In Kwazulu-Natal, the day is used to commemorate King Shaka Zulu’s assumed date of death, which is why locals call it “Shaka Day”. Others, like in Cape Town, will most likely celebrate it near the beach, as Heritage Day follows the much-anticipated Spring Day and turn of summer. However, whether you call it a braai, BBQ or Shisa Nyama, most South Africans will spend it around a fire with their friends and family, much like how Jan Braai, the man behind the “National Braai Day” initiative, intended.
This year, the team at Sling Aircraft will celebrate Heritage Day 2021 by doing what we do best – living the Sling lifestyle of adventure and freedom. Our mission is to break free of COVID restrictions, fly around the country anti-clockwise, take our bicycles and ride each of the 9 South African provinces. The mission starts at 05h45 Friday morning, ending upon our return to Tedderfield Sunday evening.
In the spirit of the Wright Brothers, bicycle makers extraordinaire, Sling Aircraft has recently embarked upon the development and manufacture of modern titanium bicycles. The first model is a gravel beauty known as the “Tagati” (or more correctly “Umthakathi” – the mixer of medicines). This provides the perfect platform for an adventure of this kind. The legendary Sling TSi takes two large-frame Tagati bicycles in the rear, and James Pitman and Branko Brkljac will be taking on the challenge. Accompanying them in the Sling High Wing prototype will be the Sling factory test pilot, Sean Russell, and music producer and filmmaker, Lloyd Ross. Apart from riding bicycles, the team will be immersing themselves in the beauty of South Africa’s geography and the spirit of its people.
The planned trip itinerary is as follows, but where necessary changes may be made en-route:
|2||Graskop||Monate Game Lodge||Limpopo|
|3||Monate Game Lodge||Sun City||North West|
|4||Sun City||Dundi Lodge – Augrabies||Northern Cape|
|5||Dundi Lodge – Augrabies||Verneukpan||Northern Cape|
|7||Tanqua||Andrew’s Field – Agulhas||Western Cape|
|8||Andrew’s Field – Agulhas||Wavecrest Beach Hotel||Eastern Cape|
|9||Wavecrest Beach Hotel||Inkwazi||KwaZulu Natal|
|10||Inkwazi||Destiny Castle||Free State|
Follow our Sling Heritage weekend ride across our various social media platforms where we will be posting regular updates of the locations we visit, the locals we meet and the celebrations of our unique cultures, beliefs and traditions. If you are in the area, feel free to find us. We would love to meet you all! If, however, your Heritage Day celebrations deem you unavailable, fear not! This adventure will of course be released as a short film by our favourite local film legend, Lloyd Ross, which I am sure is welcome news to most!
See you soon Saffa Slingers!