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Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

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"Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" ("Lord Bless Africa" in Xhosa
Xhosa language
Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by approximately 7.9 million people, or about 18% of the South African population. Like most Bantu languages, Xhosa is a tonal language, that is, the same sequence of consonants and vowels can have different meanings when said...

), was originally composed as a hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

 by a Methodist
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 mission school
Mission School
The Mission School is an art movement of the 1990s and 2000s, centered in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.-History and characteristics:...

 in Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

 teacher, Enoch Sontonga
Enoch Sontonga
Enoch Mankayi Sontonga was the composer of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika , which has been part of the South African national anthem since 1994. It was also the official African National Congress anthem since 1925 and is still the national anthem of Tanzania and Zambia...

 in 1897, to the tune 'Aberystwyth' by Joseph Parry
Joseph Parry
Joseph Parry , was a Welsh composer and musician. Born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, he is best known as the composer of Myfanwy and Aberystwyth used in Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika the National anthem of South Africa.The cottage at 4 Chapel Row, Merthyr Tydfil, where Parry was born, is now open to the...

. The song became a pan-African liberation anthem and was later adopted as the national anthem of five countries in Africa including Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia and Zimbabwe after independence. Zimbabwe and Namibia have since adopted new national anthems. The song is currently the Mungu ibariki Afrika, Zambia and since 1994, a part of the joint national anthem of South Africa
National anthem of South Africa
Since 1997, the South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts of the hymn "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" and the former anthem "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" . The fact that it shifts and ends in a different key, a feature it shares with the Italian national...

.

History


Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, was originally composed as a hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

 in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga
Enoch Sontonga
Enoch Mankayi Sontonga was the composer of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika , which has been part of the South African national anthem since 1994. It was also the official African National Congress anthem since 1925 and is still the national anthem of Tanzania and Zambia...

, a teacher at a Methodist
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 mission school
Mission School
The Mission School is an art movement of the 1990s and 2000s, centered in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.-History and characteristics:...

 in Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

, using the tune 'Aberystwyth' originally composed by Joseph Parry
Joseph Parry
Joseph Parry , was a Welsh composer and musician. Born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, he is best known as the composer of Myfanwy and Aberystwyth used in Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika the National anthem of South Africa.The cottage at 4 Chapel Row, Merthyr Tydfil, where Parry was born, is now open to the...

 in 1879. The words of the first stanza
Stanza
In poetry, a stanza is a unit within a larger poem. In modern poetry, the term is often equivalent with strophe; in popular vocal music, a stanza is typically referred to as a "verse"...

 were originally written in Xhosa as a hymn. In 1927 seven additional Xhosa stanzas were added by the poet Samuel Mqhayi.

Words and translation


Original hymn as composed by Enoch Sontonga
Enoch Sontonga
Enoch Mankayi Sontonga was the composer of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika , which has been part of the South African national anthem since 1994. It was also the official African National Congress anthem since 1925 and is still the national anthem of Tanzania and Zambia...

, but not as used in the National anthem of South Africa
National anthem of South Africa
Since 1997, the South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts of the hymn "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" and the former anthem "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" . The fact that it shifts and ends in a different key, a feature it shares with the Italian national...

, in which the first two lines of the stanza are sung in Xhosa
Xhosa language
Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by approximately 7.9 million people, or about 18% of the South African population. Like most Bantu languages, Xhosa is a tonal language, that is, the same sequence of consonants and vowels can have different meanings when said...

 and the last two in Zulu
Zulu language
Zulu is the language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority of whom live in South Africa. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa as well as being understood by over 50% of the population...

.


In Xhosa

Nkosi, sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakamis'upondo lwayo
Yizwa imithandazo yethu
Nkosi sikelela, Thina lusapholwayo.

Chorus:
Yehla Moya, Yehla Moya,
Yehla Moya Oyingcwele


In English

Lord, bless Africa
May her horn rise high up
Hear Thou our prayers And bless us.

Chorus:
Descend, O Spirit,
Descend, O Holy Spirit.

Current 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.

South Africa


The song was the official anthem for the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 during the apartheid era and was a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement
Anti-Apartheid Movement
Anti-Apartheid Movement , originally known as the Boycott Movement, was a British organization that was at the center of the international movement opposing South Africa's system of apartheid and supporting South Africa's Blacks....

. For decades during the apartheid regime it was considered by many to be the unofficial national anthem of South Africa, representing the suffering of the oppressed. In 1994 after the fall of apartheid, the new President of South Africa
President of South Africa
The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state and head of government under South Africa's Constitution. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the State President....

 Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 declared that both "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" and the previous national anthem, "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika was the national anthem of South Africa from 1957 to 1994, and shared national anthem status with Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika until 1997, when a new hybrid anthem was adopted. It was also the anthem for South-West Africa under South African mandate until 1990.- Background :In...

" ("The Call of South Africa") would be national anthems. While the inclusion of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" celebrated the newfound freedom of many South Africans, the fact that "Die Stem" was also kept as an anthem even after the fall of apartheid, signified to all that the new government under Mr Mandela respected all races and cultures and that an all-inclusive new era was dawning upon South Africa. In 1996, a shortened, combined version of the two anthems was released as the new South African National Anthem under the constitution of South Africa
Constitution of South Africa
The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the country of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the government. The current constitution, the country's fifth, was...

.

Tanzania


The hymn 'Mungu ibariki Afrika' is the national anthem of Tanzania
Mungu ibariki Afrika
' is the national anthem of Tanzania. The anthem is the Swahili language version of Enoch Sontonga's popular hymn that is also used as Zambia's anthem and part of South Africa's. It was formerly also used as Zimbabwe's anthem...

.

Zimbabwe


'Ishe Komborera Africa
Ishe Komborera Africa
This was Zimbabwe's first anthem after gaining independence in 1980. It is a translation of 19th century South African schoolteacher Enoch Sontonga's popular African hymn Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika into Zimbabwe's native Shona and Ndebele languages....

' is the Shona version of 'God Bless Africa' and was Zimbabwe's first national anthem, adopted after gaining independence in 1980.

Other countries and organisations


In other African countries throughout southern Africa, the song was sang as part of the anti-colonial movements. It includes versions in Chichewa (Malawi
Malawi
The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...

 and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

). Outside of Africa, the hymn is perhaps best known as the long-time (since 1925) anthem of the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 (ANC), as a result of the global anti-Apartheid movement
Anti-Apartheid Movement
Anti-Apartheid Movement , originally known as the Boycott Movement, was a British organization that was at the center of the international movement opposing South Africa's system of apartheid and supporting South Africa's Blacks....

 of the 1970s and 1980s, when it was regularly sung at meetings and other events. It became part of South Africa's national anthem
National anthem of South Africa
Since 1997, the South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts of the hymn "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" and the former anthem "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" . The fact that it shifts and ends in a different key, a feature it shares with the Italian national...

 in 1994, following the ANC's victory in the country's first multi-racial elections
South African general election, 1994
The South African general election of 1994 was an election held in South Africa to mark the end of apartheid, therefore also the first held with universal adult suffrage. The election was conducted under the direction of the Independent Electoral Commission .Millions queued in lines over a three...

.

In Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 the same melody is used as the children's psalm (Hear, Heavenly Father). The first part of the hymn has appeared in the hymnbook of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is the national church of Finland. The church professes the Lutheran branch of Christianity, and is a member of the Porvoo Communion....

 since 1985 with lyrics by Jaakko Löytty
Jaakko Löytty
Jaakko Löytty is one of the most significant Finnish gospel musicians. Löytty spent his youth in Namibia with his parents, who were missionaries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland....

.

Recordings


Solomon Plaatje
Sol Plaatje
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje was a South African intellectual, journalist, linguist, politician, translator, and writer. The Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, which includes the city of Kimberley, was named after him.-Early life:...

, one of South Africa's greatest writers and a founding member of the ANC, was the first to have the song recorded in London, 1923. A Sotho version was published in 1942 by Moses Mphahlele. Rev. John Langalibalele Dube
John Langalibalele Dube
John Langalibalele Dube was a South African essayist, philosopher, educator, politician, publisher, editor, novelist and poet. He was the founding president of the South African Native National Congress which became the African National Congress in 1923...

's Ohlange Zulu Choir popularised the hymn at concerts in Johannesburg, and it became a popular church hymn that was also adopted as the anthem at political meetings.

In Kenya, Mang'u High School
Mang'u High School
Mang'u High School is a national high school established in 1925, located near Thika, Kenya.-History:The school was started in 1925 by a Dutch priest, Father Witte, C.S.Sp. at Kabaa. In 1939, the school was moved to a new site at Mang'u Village on 22 acres of land and because of accessibility it...

 uses a translation, Mungu Ibariki Mang'u High, as it's school anthem.

It has also been recorded by Paul Simon
Paul Simon
Paul Frederic Simon is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.Simon is best known for his success, beginning in 1965, as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, with musical partner Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote most of the pair's songs, including three that reached number one on the US singles...

 and Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba , nicknamed Mama Africa, was a Grammy Award winning South African singer and civil rights activist....

, Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a male choral group from South Africa that sings in the vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube. They rose to worldwide prominence as a result of singing with Paul Simon on his album, Graceland and have won multiple awards, including three Grammy Awards...

, Boom Shaka
Boom Shaka
Boom Shaka was a pioneering kwaito music group from South Africa, consisting of Junior Sokhela, Lebo Mathosa, Theo Nhlengethwa and Thembi Seete. Their first album was produced in 1994. Boom Shaka's first single "It's About Time" was released in 1993. This track can be found on Stern's Music website...

, Osibisa
Osibisa
Osibisa is a British Afro-pop band, founded in London in 1969 by four expatriate African and three Caribbean musicians. Osibisa were one of the first African bands to become widely popular, leading to claims of founding World Music.-History:...

, Oliver Mtukudzi (the Shona
Shona language
Shona is a Bantu language, native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify peoples who speak one of the Shona language dialects: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore...

 version that was once the anthem of Zimbabwe) and the Mahotella Queens
Mahotella Queens
The Mahotella Queens are a South African singing group formed in 1964 comprising Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu and Mildred Mangxola...

. Boom Shaka, a prominent South African kwaito
Kwaito
Kwaito is a music genre that emerged in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the 1990s. It is a variant of house music featuring the use of African sounds and samples. Typically at a slower tempo range than other styles of house music, Kwaito often contains catchy melodic and percussive loop samples,...

 group, performed the anthem in kwaito style, a popular South African genre influenced by hip-hop. The interpretation was controversial, and viewed by some as a commercial subversion of the anthem; Boom Shaka counter that their version represents liberation and introduces the song to younger listeners.

Public Performance Controversy


The singing of the anthem has been a public disaster on two occasions - both occasions related to rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

. Ras Dumisani
Ras Dumisani
Ras Dumisani is a South African reggae musician currently living and performing in France. He became a household name in South Africa with a controversial, off-key performance of the South African national anthem at a rugby test match between France and South Africa in November 2009.- References :...

 performed the South African national anthem at a rugby test match between France and South Africa in November 2009, singing off-key and not knowing all the words. On the 23rd of August 2011, Ard Matthews
Ard Matthews
Art "Ard" Matthews is a South African musician who has served as lead vocalist and founder of the band Just Jinjer since its formation in 1996...

 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.

See also

  • Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
    Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
    Die Stem van Suid-Afrika was the national anthem of South Africa from 1957 to 1994, and shared national anthem status with Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika until 1997, when a new hybrid anthem was adopted. It was also the anthem for South-West Africa under South African mandate until 1990.- Background :In...

  • National anthem of South Africa
    National anthem of South Africa
    Since 1997, the South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts of the hymn "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" and the former anthem "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" . The fact that it shifts and ends in a different key, a feature it shares with the Italian national...

  • National anthem of Zambia
  • Ishe Komborera Africa
    Ishe Komborera Africa
    This was Zimbabwe's first anthem after gaining independence in 1980. It is a translation of 19th century South African schoolteacher Enoch Sontonga's popular African hymn Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika into Zimbabwe's native Shona and Ndebele languages....

     (Zimbabwe)

External links


  • Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika lyrics at the African National Congress
    African National Congress
    The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

     (ANC)
  • Thomasmesse Iserlohn (#18: Nkosi sikelel' i Afrika, mp3 sung by a German church choir)
  • BBC Rhythms of the Continent: Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika in kwaito
    Kwaito
    Kwaito is a music genre that emerged in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the 1990s. It is a variant of house music featuring the use of African sounds and samples. Typically at a slower tempo range than other styles of house music, Kwaito often contains catchy melodic and percussive loop samples,...

    style
  • Ard posts official apology