National anthem of South Africa : two anthems into one

Before South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994, the country had two anthems - an official and an unofficial one.

The official anthem was Die Stem van Suid Afrika  (The Call of South Africa).

The unofficial anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, was a symbol of independence and resistance to apartheid, sung by the majority of the population and at all anti-apartheid rallies and gatherings. In the official anthem of the new South Africa, the two anthems merge into one.

The South African government under Nelson Mandela adopted both songs as national anthems from 1995 until they were merged in 1997 to form the current anthem.

Since 1997, The South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining :

- new English lyrics

  extracts of the hymn "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika"

- the old South African anthem "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika/The Call of South Africa".

National anthem of South Africa : Lyrics

English translation

Xhosa (first stanza, first two lines),

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo,

Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.

God bless Africa                                        May her glory be lifted high

Hear our petitions
God bless us, Your children

Zulu (first stanza, last two lines),

Sesotho (second stanza),

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.

God we ask You to protect our nation
Intervene and end all conflicts
Protect us, protect our nation
Nation of South Africa, South Africa

Afrikaans (third stanza)

Uit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,

Ringing out from our blue heavens,
From our deep seas breaking round,
Over everlasting mountains,
Where the echoing crags resound,

and English (final stanza).

Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.

  Listen to the anthem