South African national anthem: lyrics, history, dos and don'ts

South African national anthem: lyrics, history, dos and don'ts

South Africans take great pride in their national anthem because it is a unifying tool, inclusively pulling together all interests. Notably, it conveys a powerful prayer message that commands both awe and respect when reciting. Knowing all the anthem lyrics and how to sing them properly is therefore essential.

South African national anthem: lyrics, history, dos and don'ts

South African players sing the national anthem during the ICC Women's T20 Cricket World Cup match 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Jason McCawley
Source: Getty Images

What is our national anthem called? Many refer to the anthem as Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika because it is an incipit in the song. However, the official title of the anthem is the National anthem of South Africa. The South African national anthem history, lyrics, languages, dos, and don'ts say more.

SA national anthem history

The National anthem of South Africa came into place in 1997 as a hybrid song and has since become famous for its musicality and sincerity. The new anthem is an upgrade from former compositions and includes multiple languages. Most importantly, the South Africa national anthem words speak the language and culture of its people.

Happy Women's Day wishes, quotes and messages 2020

What does the South African national anthem symbolize?

The anthem is a symbol of national unity because of its diversity in languages, cultures, and messages. It is a reminder of how far the country has come from struggles to an era of freedom. The anthem pleads for God's blessings and incites all the people to unite for a healthier nation and the broader African continent's welfare.

South Africa national anthem languages

Which country has the best national anthem? Many Africans agree that South Africa has the best national anthem in the region. The anthem includes four verses, each from a different local language. Besides, the anthem integrates five of the official languages in the lyrics. Some of the national dialects that make up the South Africa national anthem song include the following.

Verse 1: isiXhosa and isiZulu

Verse 2: Sesotho

Verse 3: Afrikaans

Top facts about the South African flag: colors, meaning, old SA flag, and apartheid flag

Verse 4: English

South Africa national anthem lyrics

The spine-tingling anthem is a work of art with a rhythmic flow. Interestingly, it does not feel like a hybrid of language when sung during significant events.

South Africa national anthem translation

The complete translation of the national anthem is now available in multiple languages. In essence, there is a translation ready whether you are looking for the South Africa national anthem in Afrikaans or any other official language.

Furthermore, the South Africa national anthem English translation is prevalent across the land. While it is acceptable to sing the anthem in different languages, finding the most convenient translation is the best way to relate to the entire anthem without experiencing language barriers.

South Africa national anthem lyrics in English

The world can easily relate to the Mzansi anthem in English as opposed to any other language. Foreigners may also find it necessary to sing the anthem in English when not acquainted with its official lyrics.

List of famous South African musicians that you need to know
South African national anthem: lyrics, history, dos and don'ts

Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's president, center, and his wife Tshepo Motsepe, center right, stand for the national anthem during the state of the nation ceremony. Photo: Dwayne Senior
Source: Getty Images

Verse 1: isiXhosa and isiZulu

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)

Verse 2: Sesotho

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)

Verse 3: Afrikaans

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)

Verse 4: English

Sounds the call to come together,

And united we shall stand,

Let us live and strive for freedom,

Famous South African bands that made it beyond the national borders

In South Africa our land.

The new and old South Africa national anthem

The current national anthem is a shortened version of two different songs. Enoch Sontonga is the composer of the first song by the title "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika." Coincidentally, the title is a pickup line in the isiXhosa and isiZulu verse. Enoch Sontonga was an accomplished Methodist mission schoolteacher in 1897 when he composed "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika." In 1942, another poet by the name of Samuel Mqhayi included seven more isiXhosa stanzas.

The other part of the anthem "The Call of South Africa'/’Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" comes from the mid-1990s. The song was a national anthem between 1994 and 1997; it is now available in more than five translations.

South Africa national anthem instrumental

The United States navy band took part in the instrumentation of the South African national anthem band. The musicality of the anthem is far-reaching and superior in the African continent.

Top 30 interesting and fun facts about South Africa

South Africa national anthem protocol

Every national anthem has a unique and must follow protocol regardless of its status and rank in government. For this reason, there are various dos and don'ts when reciting the song, which is a prayer to many. Dickson Masemola, the MEC for Transport, is among the other leaders who have recently insisted on protocol when saying the anthem. Various dos and don'ts include the following.

  • No one should be walking about when reciting.
  • Everyone should respectably maintain the attention position with the hands kept by the side.
  • Everyone should show respect by taking off their hats when reciting.
  • Law officials should properly salute during recitation.

South Africa national anthem downloads

Locals can now download the anthem lyrics and instrumental audio versions from leading media streaming sites. The two versions are both in the public domain and accessible freely on YouTube and other leading websites.

Top 10 richest rappers in South Africa now

Which national anthem has the most languages? South African is one of the few states with a multilingual national anthem apart from others, including New Zealand and Bolivia.

The South African national anthem is a profound prayer of people in their native languages. Luckily, it is now available in multiple translations with the right protocol at hand. The anthem has come a long way to become a historical composition for all South Africans.

READ ALSO: Top South Africa struggle songs: 12 inspiring anti-apartheid songs you should know shared the top SA inspiring anti-apartheid songs. Local and international musicians who sang South Africa struggle songs helped dismantle the oppressive South African apartheid regime.

The touching lyrics of these songs moved people to support South Africans in their fight against apartheid. Some of the musicians were exiled for criticizing the government, but even the bars did not stop them.

The South African national symbols


Online view pixel