South Africa became a democracy in 1994. I was in Standard 9, aged 16 years old. I couldn’t vote yet as I was not 18 years old at the time, but it didn’t phase me much as I was just enjoying the change that our country was experiencing. In my matric year (1995) we learnt about apartheid in our History classes, something that I am immensely proud of, as years of history matriculants before me didn’t get a chance to learn that.
One thing however that I missed out on being taught at school, was the new South African anthem, Nkosi Sikilele. We were still singing Die Stem when I left matric in 1995, I think they started learning the new anthem the year after that, or in 1997. So here I sit, 16 years down the line from South Africa becoming a democracy, and I STILL do not know how to sing the whole of our new South African anthem… shocking!
What’s even more shocking, is that my 6 year old son can sing the entire anthem from beginning to end. On Freedom day, 27 April 2010, Matthew stood proudly swinging his South African flag and sang the anthem in our living room. We all stood and listened and watched with huge proud grins on our faces. So here is the South African national anthem and I am going to learn it, because as a citizen of your country you should know your national anthem. It should be imprinted on your brain like your shoe size, bra size or whatever size you are.
The anthem comprises of 5 of the official languages:
(Xhosa) Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,
(Zulu) Yizwa imithandazo yethu, Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.
(Sesotho) Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso, O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho, O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso, Setjhaba sa, South Afrika, South Africa
(Afrikaans) Uit die blou van onse hemel, Uit die diepte van ons see, Oor ons ewige gebergtes, Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
(English) Sounds the call to come together, And united we shall stand, Let us live and strive for freedom, In South Africa our land.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is our national anthem. *proud grin*