National anthem of South Africa

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National Anthem of South Africa
Flag of South Africa.svg
The National Flag of South Africa.

National anthem of
 South Africa

Also known asNkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (First segment)
English: God Bless Africa
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika (Second segment)
English: The Call of South Africa
LyricsEnoch Sontonga, 1897
C.J. Langenhoven, 1918
MusicEnoch Sontonga, 1897
Martin Linius de Villiers, 1921
Adopted1997
Music sample
 
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National Anthem of South Africa
Flag of South Africa.svg
The National Flag of South Africa.

National anthem of
 South Africa

Also known asNkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (First segment)
English: God Bless Africa
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika (Second segment)
English: The Call of South Africa
LyricsEnoch Sontonga, 1897
C.J. Langenhoven, 1918
MusicEnoch Sontonga, 1897
Martin Linius de Villiers, 1921
Adopted1997
Music sample

Since 1997, the South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts of the hymn Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa) and the former anthem Die Stem van Suid-Afrika (The Call of South Africa).

Contents

Structure

The fact that it shifts (modulates) and ends in a different key, a feature it shares with the Italian national anthem,[1] makes it compositionally unusual. The lyrics employ the five most widely spoken of South Africa's eleven official languages - Xhosa (first stanza, first two lines), Zulu (first stanza, last two lines), Sesotho (second stanza), Afrikaans (third stanza) and English (final stanza).

History

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Methodist school teacher. It was originally sung as a church hymn but later became an act of political defiance against the apartheid government. Die Stem van Suid-Afrika is a poem written by C.J. Langenhoven in 1918 and was set to music by the Reverend Marthinus Lourens de Villiers in 1921.[2] Die Stem was the co-national anthem[3] with God Save the King/Queen from 1936 to 1957, when it became the sole national anthem until 1995.

The South African government adopted both songs as national anthems from 1994, when they were performed at Nelson Mandela's inauguration.[4] They were merged in 1997 to form the current anthem. The new English lyrics were adapted from the last four lines of the first stanza of The Call of South Africa (the English version of Die Stem), and were modified to reflect hope in post-apartheid South African society.

Lyrics

LanguageLyricsEnglish translation[5]
XhosaNkosi sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo,
Lord bless Africa
Let its (Africa's) horn be raised
ZuluYizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela
Thina lusapho lwayo.
Listen also to our prayers
Lord bless us
We are the family of it (Africa)
SesothoMorena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,
Setjhaba sa, South Afrika — South Afrika.
Lord bless our nation
Stop wars and sufferings
Save it, save it, our nation
The nation of South Africa — South Africa.
AfrikaansUit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
From the blue of our heavens,
From the depths of our seas,
Over our everlasting mountains,
Where the crags give answer,
EnglishSounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land.

The challenges of a multilingual anthem

The combination of several languages has been a challenge from the onset. For the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Morné du Plessis suggested that the Springboks learn the "black" half of the new anthem, and "they did so with great feeling", according to their instructor Anne Munnik.[6]

Occasionally, the difficulties caused public embarrassment. At a rugby test match between France and South Africa in November 2009, Ras Dumisani performed the South African national anthem, singing off-key and not knowing all the words.[7]

On the 23 August 2011, Ard Matthews suffered a similar fate on national television, when he was asked to perform the anthem at the announcement of the Springbok World Cup team. He posted a public apology and vowed to go forward and continue to sing the anthem correctly whenever opportunity arises.[8]

During a pre-Olympic field hockey tournament held in London in June 2012, the organisers mistakenly played Die Stem prior to a game between the South African and Great Britain women's teams[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ "South Africa - National Anthem of South Africa (Die Stem van Suid-Afrika/Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika)". NationalAnthems.me. http://nationalanthems.me/south-africa-die-stem-van-suid-afrika-nkosi-sikelel-iafrika/. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  2. ^ "SA National Anthem History". http://www.info.gov.za/aboutgovt/symbols/anthem.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  3. ^ "The Presidency: National Anthem". http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/pebble.asp?relid=265. Retrieved 2012-06-06. 
  4. ^ Carlin, John (2008). Playing the Enemy. New York: Penguin. pp. 147, 153. ISBN 978-1-59420-174-5. 
  5. ^ "Teach Yourself to sing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica". Finebushpeople.co.za. 2012-07-15. http://finebushpeople.co.za/farmstore/catalog/nkosi.htm. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  6. ^ Carlin, John (2008). Playing the Enemy. New York: Penguin. pp. 173–178. ISBN 978-1-59420-174-5. 
  7. ^ IOL Sport - Anthem butcher says 'it was beautiful'
  8. ^ Channel24.co.za - Ard posts official apology
  9. ^ "GB apologise over South Africa apartheid anthem error". BBC News. 6 June 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/18339275. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 

Notes

External links