Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

I was sitting on a kombi this weekend when a version of the song “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” came on, and it got me thinking.

If you have heard anything about SA, you probably know about Cape Town, Apartheid, and Nelson Mandela. These three things are some of the most famous and widely known “parts” of SA, and thus most people have heard of them. If not, please Wikipedia each of them and at least try to educate yourself somewhat. 🙂

Anyways, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is a hymn that was written in the late 1800s in SA, and eventually became a song at the heart of the anti-Apartheid movement. The title means “God Bless Afrika” in Xhosa and it is a beautiful song. People were thrown in jail during Apartheid for singing it, yet it stayed strong throughout the movement. After Apartheid ended, Nelson Mandela made it one of the national anthems, along with the Afrikaans song “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika”. Nowadays, the national anthem is a mix of the two, written in 5 of SA’s 11 languages: Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English.

Here is a text of SA’s National Anthem, taken from Wikipedia/my memory. 😉

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

Morena boloka sejhaba sa heso
O feditse dintwa le matshwenyaho
O se boloke, o se boloke setjhaba sa heso
Setjhaba sa, South Afrika, South Afrika

Uit die blou van onse hemel
Uit die diepte vans 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!

I honestly love this anthem, and can sing it quite well now. I think it is easier to sing than the US anthem. 😀 I love the joy I see on faces when they hear me singing the “African parts” as well as the Afrikaans/English parts. I think it is amazing how they have taken so many of the languages and cultures and melded them into a beautiful anthem that portrays what life here is like at times-a crazy mash of language and culture. I love it!

-Jen

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About Jen Lamos

Christ follower. Writer. Permaculturist. RPCV. Photographer. Gardener. Keeper of Chickens. Daughter of God.

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