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Africa Day: Meet the National Anthem

Today, May 25th, is Africa Day, and, to celebrate, SA Logue invites you to get to know the South African national anthem, Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika.

The anthem is something of a melody of national unity. It combines three songs – part of the original Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika, composed by Enoch Sontonga, part of the former, “old South Africa” national anthem, Die Stem, and part of an English adaptation of Die Stem, The Call of Africa – and four languages, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans and English, in that order.

Here is the anthem’s full text:

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.

Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa la matshwenyeho,
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,
Setjhaba sa South Afrika – South Afrika.

Uit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee –

Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.

Interestingly, the original Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika (that is, without the Die Stem grafting) is also the national anthem for Tanzania and Zambia, and used to be Zimbabwe’s national anthem, too.