Today is Heritage Day in South Africa. While also being National Braai Day, and a great public holiday in which I can sit at home and watch the South African cricket team play New Zealand in the ICC Champions Trophy, the day is meant to be a day where South Africans celebrate our heritage.

I must be honest and say that I have never been all that much into our national identity because, you see, while I was born here, and am at least half South African, most of my connections lie elsewhere in the world.

My heritage is varied. My father was Belgian, while my mother is a bit of a melting pot of cultures. I’ve got Jewish, German, Scottish and Afrikaans blood flowing through my veins thanks to that branch of my ancestry. And even the Afrikaans ancestor of mine is a mix, with French, Dutch, Swiss and even a few Indian slaves thrown in.

On the flip side, even though I have just said that I don’t always feel like a true South African, thanks to my one Afrikaans Great-Great Grandmother, I am essentially a cousin (albeit distant) of almost every single person in South Africa with any Afrikaans ancestry, as the genetic pool of the early settlers in South Africa was rather small.

For the interested genealogists out there, here is a link to a Gedcom detailing my ancestry, which at present contains almost 11000 people.