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.


The History of the National Anthem

The National Anthem was proclaimed in 1997.
It is a shortened, combined version of two anthems (‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’ and ‘The Call of South Africa’/’Die van Suid-Afrika’); sung between 1994 and 1997.
It is unique in that it is sung in five languages.
The length of the Anthem is about 1h45 seconds
The Composers

’Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’ was composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Methodist mission schoolteacher. The poet Samuel Mqhayi later added seven additional stanzas in isiXhosa. A Sesotho version was published by Moses Mphahlele in 1942.

‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’ became a popular church hymn that was later adopted as  an anthem at political meetings and was sung as an act of defiance during the apartheid years. ’Die Stem van Suid-Afrika’ is a poem written by CJ Langenhoven in May 1918, with music composed in 1921 by the Reverend ML de Villiers.

It was first sung publicly at the official hoisting of the national flag in Cape Town on 31 May 1928. It was not until 2 May 1957 that government pronounced Die Stem as the official national anthem of South Africa. In 1952, the official English version, ‘The Call of South Africa’, was accepted for official use.

The correct etiquette of singing the national anthem

Protocol on respecting the National Anthem

The National Anthem should be recited with appropriate respect

All should stand to attention with their hands placed at
Their sides while singing the National Anthem.
Civilians should take their hats off as a sign of respect
There should be no movement and chewing of gum during the singing of the Anthem.
It is important that the Anthem should be sung to its fullness, and should not be interrupted, even at its conclusion.
To continue promoting our common National Identity towards a Social Cohesive Nation as mandated by the Government, the Department of Arts and Culture has partnered with SABC Education to roll-out a comprehensive campaign to ensure that this ideal is achieved through various platforms and channels. Through this partnership, the department envisages to reach All South Africans, public schools, the young & the old, different racial groups, civil organisations or formations including business in attempt to strengthen relations amongst fellow South Africans towards a common identity. The Campaign will be launched on 04 February 2016.