South African National Anthem


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

Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso
O fedise dintwa le 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.
 


Download the musical notation of the
South African National Anthem
(222kb, PDF format)
From: Government Gazette 10/10/1997

Audio files (these are external links and we do not own these recordings):
MP3 Version (Instrumental) - US Navy Band
MP3 Version (Vocal) - Lions
RealAudio (Vocal - Miriam Stockley & P.J. Powers)


BACKGROUND
The origins of this anthem is quite interesting as it combines a part of the old anthem South African anthem "Die Stem" (as used in South Africa during Apartheid) with a hymn associated with the struggle for freedom in South Africa, "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" (in Zulu as well as Sotho).

The song "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" was composed and the initial lyrics written in Xhosa by Enoch Sontonga in 1897. He a teacher at a Methodist mission school in Johannesburg. In 1927 seven additional verses was added by the Xhosa poet Samuel Mqhayi. The Sesotho version of the song was published in 1942 by Moses Mphahlele. The song became very popular as a church hymn and later was adopted as anthem at political meetings.

The Afrikaans writer and poet C.J. Langenhoven wrote "Die Stem" as a poem in May 1918. In 1921 it was set to music by Rev. M.L. de Villiers. It was first sung publicly at the official hoisting of the national flag in Cape Town on 31 May 1928. On 2 May 1957 it became the official national anthem of South Africa. Before that time the two former so-called Boer republics had their own anthems ("Vrystaatse Volkslied"/"Heft burgers" for the Orange Free State and "Kent gij dat volk" for the Transvaal as well as "God save the Queen" for the former British colonies of the Cape and Natal. Despite the recognition in 1957 "Die Stem" was still used for a period in time with the British anthem. "Die Stem" as well as the English translation, "The Call of South Africa" (officially accepted in 1952) was used as anthem until 1994.

The president of South Africa issued a proclamation on 20 April 1994 that both "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" and "Die Stem" would be the national anthem of the country. The current version only came into being when it was shorthened in 1996. The English words were added and re-arrangement was done by Jeanne Z. Rudolph as per the Anthem Committee.



OTHER VERSIONS AND TRANSLATIONS
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Die Stem/The Call of South Africa


TRANSLATION OF OFFICIAL ANTHEM

Anthem English translation
Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo
Yizwa imithandazo yethu
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo

Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho
O se boloke, O se boloke
Setjhaba (1) sa heso
Setjhaba sa South Afrika (2)

South Afrika (3) !

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.
(Lord Bless Africa)
(May her glory be lifted high)
(Hear our petitions)
(Lord bless us. Us your children)

(Lord we ask You to protect our nation)
(Intervene and end all conflicts)
(Protect us, protect us)
(Protect our nation)
(Protect South Africa)

(South Africa!)

(Ringing out from our blue heavens,)
(from our deep seas breaking round,)
(Over everlasting mountains)
(where the echoing crags resound.)

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

Footnotes:
(1) The word "setjhaba" is often wrongly written as "sechaba" - this might have been the spelling in the original translation of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" into Sesotho. Yet in terms of the currently accepted orthography for South African Sesotho (in contrast to the language variety used in Lesotho) the word should be "setjhaba".
(2) It is strange why "South Afrika" is used in this instance, the Sesotho version "Afrika Borwa" could also have worked.
(3) Similar to (2) the spelling is also not correct as it is a mixture of "South" in English and "Afrika" (instead of "Africa) which is the Afrikaans spelling and is almost similar to the spelling used in some of the other South African languages.

Links
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika - History and translations of the original song
South African Anthems - Translations and sheet music
National Anthem - South African government's page on the national anthem


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J. Olivier (2009)
SAlanguages.com