National Anthem Toolkit
PROMOTING A SENSE OF COMMON IDENTITY AND NATIONAL PRIDE
The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) entered into a partnership venture with Voices of Cape Town to assist citizens to sing the national anthem with pride. This initiative was guided by Lungile Jacobs, a renowned musician, composer and former member of the Western Cape Cultural Commission. The National Anthem was proclaimed in 1997 as a shortened, combined version of two anthems (Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and The Call of South Africa/Die Stem van Suid-Afrika). It is unique in that it has stanzas in four languages. This demonstrates the tireless desire South Africa has to reconcile and promote national unity.
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika is a poem written by CJ Langenhoven in May 1918, with music composed in 1921 by Rev ML de Villiers. It was first sung publicly at the official hoisting of the national flag in Cape Town on 31 May 1928, but it was not until 2 May 1957 that the government pronounced Die Stem as the official national anthem. In 1952, the official English version, The Call of South Africa, was accepted for official use.
Nksosi Sikelel' iAfrika was composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a school teacher, as a church hymn. The song become very popular and later was adapted as the unofficial freedom anthem at political meetings. The Sesotho version of the song was published in 1942 by Moses Mphahlele. Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was popularised at concerts held in Johannesburg by Reverend JL Dube's Ohlange Zulu Choir.
The national anthem of democratic South Africa merges Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and Die Stem and was arranged by Mzilikazi Khumalo and D de Villiers. It was officially proclaimed in the Government Gazette (no. 18341 of 10 October 1997).
DCAS expresses its gratitude to Lungile Jacobs for his insight and commitment and to Voices of Cape Town in making this a reality. Our thanks to the artists: accompanist Andre Pieterson; soloists Nozuko Teto and Zizele Mamve; voice over artistist Lebo Lethunya, Charles Banjatwa and Nolen Afrika; SABC Sea Point Studios; Western Cape Cultural Commission, Desire Acappella group; Paul Lewis and Grant McLachlan.
Our national anthem speaks of a united and democratic South Africa. A country with a forward-looking Constitution; a country that provides its citizens with an ever expanding base of opportunities. The national anthem gives South Africans a sense of common identity and promotes national pride, social inclusion and reconciliation.
DCAS is proud to be associated with this worthy project.
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