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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Africa's Anthem

My blogging friend, Donna, commented in my previous blog that she preferred Africa's Anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' Africa, (God Bless Africa), to the American Negro National Anthem. Donna has lived in Africa and has a love for that continent. Well I was not aware of this song so my ever present curiosity lead me to find out more about it.

Here it is.

I find it melodic and moving and can understand to use in Africa.

Here are the lyrics

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika

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

Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa la 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.

English Translation


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

Descend, O Spirit,
Descend, O Holy Spirit.

Bless our chiefs
May they remember their Creator.
Fear Him and revere Him,
That He may bless them.

Bless the public men,
Bless also the youth
That they may carry the land with patienceand that
Thou mayst bless them.

Bless the wives
And also all young women;
Lift up all the young girls
And bless them.

Bless the ministers
of all the churches of this land;
Endue them with Thy Spirit
And bless them.

Bless agriculture and stock raising
Banish all famine and diseases;
Fill the land with good health
And bless it.

Bless our efforts
of union and self-uplift,
Of education and mutual understanding
And bless them.

Lord, bless Africa
Blot out all its wickedness
And its transgressions and sins,
And bless it.

This song is to me a hymn, more so than an anthem. It is in fact a prayer. It has been used in communal and political situations such that it has taken on layers of emotion and meaning such that it is also considered an antiwar song. Given Africa's often violent history it is interesting how this hymn has become such a powerful anthem. (Perhaps, this is just my biased opinion of the nature of African culture)

This Anthem has become part of the South African National Anthem where it is combined with "Die Stem van Suid Afrika" (Call to Africa) the former Afrikaner Anthem of than country, symbolic of the effort at reconciliation in that country.

The video below begins by scrolling up some of the history of this unique National Anthem.
It also includes some lovely images of the beautiful country of South Africa.

I hope you have taken the time to enjoy this song of Africa.


At 9:19 a.m., Blogger amelia said...

Very lovely tune. I prefer this to ours!!

At 11:15 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--thank you so much.
The flugle horn (I think) at the beginning is being played by Hugh Masekela. And the prominent female voice is Miriam Makeba--Mother Africa--who died last year.
When Paul Simon did his Graceland album, with the Ladysmith Black Mambazo singers out of S. Africa, he would close concerts with this number.
I agree with your assessment that it is hymn and prayer all combined. It always gives me chills--and really did so before S. Africa was freed from apartheid.

At 12:01 p.m., Blogger Janet said...

That's a wonderful anthem. I really like that they've included all 5 major languages in the lyrics. And the pictures they chose for the video were beautiful.

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