Art 0r Craft (D)

How we got our national anthem

In May 1918, C.J. Langenhoven wrote an Afrikaans poem called Die Stem, for which music was composed by the Reverend Marthinus Lourens de Villiers in 1921. It was widely used by the South African Broadcasting Corporation in the 1920s, which played it at the close of daily broadcasts, along with God Save the King. It was sung publicly for the first time on 31 May 1928.

It was not translated into English until 1952, while God Save the Queen did not cease to have official status until 1957

"Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" ("Lord Bless Africa" in Xhosa), was originally composed as a hymn in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga. A beautiful redition with can be heard here of the prayer here Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. 

Our national anthems from past to present can be heard here

Translating a song is not an easy job as can be seen in this translation of the Die Stem 

Die Stem van Suid-Afrika The Call of South Africa Literal translation from Afrikaans
First verse
Uit die blou van onse hemel, Ringing out from our blue heavens, From the blue of our heaven
Uit die diepte van ons see, From our deep seas breaking round, From the depths of our sea,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes Over everlasting mountains, Over our eternal mountain ranges
Waar die kranse antwoord gee. Where the echoing crags resound, Where the cliffs give answer
Deur ons vêr verlate vlaktes From our plains where creaking wagons, Through our far-deserted plains
Met die kreun van ossewa. Cut their trails into the earth, With the groan of ox-wagon
Ruis die stem van ons geliefde, Calls the spirit of our country, Rises the voice of our beloved,
Van ons land Suid-Afrika. Of the land that gave us birth. Of our country South Africa
Ons sal antwoord op jou roepstem, At thy call we shall not falter, We will answer to your calling,
Ons sal offer wat jy vra: Firm and steadfast we shall stand, We will offer what you ask
Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe, At thy will to live or perish, We will live, we will die
Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika. O South Africa, dear land. We for Thee, South Africa
Second verse
In die murg van ons gebeente, In our body and our spirit, In the marrow of our bones
in ons hart en siel en gees, In our inmost heart held fast; In our heart and soul and spirit
In ons roem op ons verlede, In the promise of our future, In the glory of our past
In ons hoop op wat sal wees. And the glory of our past; In our hope of what will be
In ons wil en werk en wandel, In our will, our work, our striving, In our will and work and wander,
Van ons wieg tot aan ons graf. From the cradle to the grave- From our crib to our grave
Deel geen ander land ons liefde, There's no land that shares our loving, Share no other land our love,
Trek geen ander trou ons af. And no bond that can enslave. No other loyalty can sway us.
Vaderland, ons sal die adel, Thou hast borne us and we know thee, Fatherland! We will bear the nobility
Van jou naam met ere dra: May our deeds to all proclaim Of your name with honour:
Waar en trou as Afrikaners, Our enduring love and service Dedicated and true as Afrikaners,
Kinders van Suid-Afrika. To thy honour and thy name. Children of South Africa
Third verse
In die songloed van ons somer, In the golden warmth of summer, In the sunglow of our summer,
in ons winternag se kou, In the chill of winter's air, In our winter night's cold
In die lente van ons liefde, In the surging life of springtime, In the spring of our love,
in die lanfer van ons rou. In the autumn of despair; In the autumn of our sorrow
By die klink van huw'liksklokkies, When the wedding bells are chiming, At the sound of wedding bells,
by die kluit-klap op die kis. Or when those we love do depart, At the stonefall on the coffin.
Streel jou stem ons nooit verniet nie, Thou dost know us for thy children Soothes your voice us never in vain,
Weet jy waar jou kinders is. And dost take us to thy heart You know where your children are.
Op jou roep sê ons nooit née nie, Loudly peals the answering chorus; At your call we never say no,
Sê ons altyd, altyd ja: We are thine, and we shall stand, We always, always say yes:
Om te lewe, om te sterwe - Be it life or death, to answer To live, to die –
Ja, ons kom, Suid-Afrika. To thy call, beloved land. Yes, we come South Africa
Fourth verse
Op U Almag vas vertrouend In thy power, Almighty, trusting, On your almight steadfast entrusted
het ons vadere gebou: Did our fathers build of old; Had our fathers built:
Skenk ook ons die krag, o Here! Strengthen then, O Lord, their children Give to us also the strength, o Lord!
Om te handhaaf en te hou. To defend, to love, to hold- To sustain and to preserve.
Dat die erwe van ons vadere That the heritage they gave us That the heritage of our fathers
Vir ons kinders erwe bly: For our children yet may be; For our children heritage remain
Knegte van die Allerhoogste, Bondsmen only to the Highest Servants of the almighty,
Teen die hele wêreld vry. And before the whole world free. Against the whole world free.
Soos ons vadere vertrou het, As our fathers trusted humbly, As our fathers trusted,
Leer ook ons vertrou, o Heer: Teach us, Lord to trust Thee still; Teach us also to trust, o Lord:
Met ons land en met ons nasie Guard our land and guide our people With our land and with our nation
Sal dit wel wees, God regeer. In Thy way to do Thy will. It will be well, God reigns.

so deciding on a new national anthem that made everyone happy was a very difficult task. 

Language Lyrics English translation[6]
Xhosa Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo,
God bless Africa
Let its (Africa's) horn be raised,
Zulu Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.
Listen also to our prayers,
Lord bless us, we are the family of it (Africa).
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 Afrika.
Lord bless our nation,
Stop wars and sufferings,
Save it, save our nation,
The nation of South Africa — South Africa.
Afrikaans Uit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
From the blue of our heavens,
From the depths of our seas,
Over our everlasting mountains,
Where the cliffs give answer,
English Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land.

Our anthem 


Art 0r Craft (D)

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