It is an abbreviation for braaivleis which means “grilled meat”. Therefore, the word originally comes from the language and culture of Afrikaners in Southern Africa. Having a braai is a social custom not only in South Africa but also in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. In a nutshell, a braai is the South African equivalent of an American barbecue.
A common (and very common) practice in any South African household, braai is a fundamental part of South African culture and consists of a gathering of friends and family around a wood grill to celebrate. In many cases, families organize a smaller braai once a week (including a breakfast braai) and a larger braai on special occasions. However, while fans of South African braai are passionate about their tradition, braai itself is quite simple. Everyone has their own braai tricks and techniques, and many South Africans insist on the best way to prepare a good braai.
One of the best days for braai is South African Heritage Day, September 24, affectionately known as Braai Day.