Learn about who we are.
South African Things
National Anthem Big Cities Our Cultures Our History Our Parks Setting up an Itinerary South African Things Nelson Mandela

Our National Anthem

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika
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.

Translation
The isiXhosa and isiZulu of the first stanza, the Sesotho of the second stanza and the Afrikaans of the third stanza translate into English as follows:

    Lord, bless Africa
    May her spirit rise high up
    Hear thou our prayers
    Lord bless us.

    Lord, bless Africa
    Banish wars and strife
    Lord, bless our nation
    Of South Africa.

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

History: 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, in English 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.