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Tuesday Evening Melody: “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” by Soweto Gospel Choir

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

To open our show with Desmond Tutu, we chose the Soweto Gospel Choir’s version of South Africa’s national anthem. The song pulls together two anthems in five different languages: Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English. It goes:

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.

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.

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 how this anthem came into being is fascinating. Well worth a read.

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