A proclamation issued by the (then) State
President on 20 April 1994 in terms of the provisions of Section
248 (1) together with Section 2 of the
Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa, 1993 (Act 200 of 1993), stated that the
Republic of South Africa would have two national anthems. They
were Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and The Call of South Africa (Die Stem van Suid-Afrika). In terms of
Section 4 of the
Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), and
following a proclamation in the Government Gazette No. 18341 (dated 10 October 1997), a shortened, combined version of Nkosi
Sikelel' iAfrika and The Call of South Africa is now the
national anthem of South Africa.
The Call of South Africa (Die Stem van
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika is a poem written by
CJ Langenhoven in May 1918. The music was composed by the
Reverend ML de Villiers in 1921.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation
played both God save the King and Die Stem to close their daily
broadcasts and the public became familiar with it. It was first
sung publicly at the official hoisting of the national flag in
Cape Town on 31 May 1928, but it was not until 2 May 1957 that
government made the announcement that Die Stem had been accepted
as the official national anthem of South Africa. In the same
year, government also acquired the copyright and this was
confirmed by an Act of Parliament in 1959. In 1952, the official
English version of the national anthem, The Call of South Africa was accepted for official use.
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was composed in 1897 by
Enoch Sontonga, a Methodist mission school teacher. The words of
the first stanza were originally written in Xhosa as a hymn.
Seven additional stanzas in Xhoza were later added by the poet,
Samuel Mqhayi. A Sesotho version was published by Moses
Mphahlele in 1942. Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was popularised at
concerts held in Johannesburg by Reverend JL Dube's Ohlange Zulu
Choir. It became a popular church hymn that was later adopted as
an anthem at political meetings. It was sung as an act of
defiance during the Apartheid years. The first stanza is
generally sung in Xhosa or Zulu followed by the Sesotho version.
Apparently there is no standard version or translations of Nkosi
and the words vary from place to place and from occasion to
This is the official version of the national anthem, combining Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and Die Stem/The Call of South Africa, with a translation in English given in brackets:
South African National Anthem
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
(God Bless Africa)
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo,
(Raise high Her glory)
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
(Hear our Prayers)
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo
(God bless us, we her children)
isiXhosa and isiZulu
Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
(God protect our nation)
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
(End all wars and tribulations)
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,
(Protect us, protect our nation)
Setjhaba sa South Afrika - South Afrika.
(Our nation South Africa - South Africa)
Uit die blou van onse hemel,
(Ringing out from our blue heavens)
Uit die diepte van ons see,
(From the depth of our seas)
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
(Over our everlasting mountains)
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
(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.
Please note that the
sheet music is in [PDF] format.
Listen to the anthem
BROWNELL, FG, National Symbols of the Republic of South
Africa. 1995. Johannesburg: Chris van Rensburg Publications.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Information. 1983. South
Africa 1983: Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa.
9th ed. Johannesburg: Chris van Rensburg Publications.
Republic of South Africa.1994. Government Gazette, no 15694 of
1994. Pretoria: Government Printer.
Republic of South Africa.1995. Government Gazette, no 1658 of
1995. Pretoria: Government Printer
Republic of South Africa.1997. Government Gazette, no 18341 of
1997. Pretoria: Government Printer.
South African Communication Service. 1993. South Africa 1993: Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa. 19th ed.
Pretoria: South African Communication Service.
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