A proclamation issued by the (then)
State President on 20 April 1994 in terms of the provisions of
Section 248 (1) together with Section 2 of the
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1993 (Act 200 of
1993), stated that the Republic of South Africa would have two
national anthems. They were Nkosi Sikelel'
iAfrika and The Call of South Africa (Die Stem
van Suid-Afrika). In terms of
Section 4 of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of
1996), and following a proclamation in the Government Gazette
No. 18341 (dated 10 October 1997), a shortened, combined
version of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and The Call of South
Africa is now the national anthem of South Africa.
The Call of South Africa (Die
Stem van Suid-Afrika)
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika is
a poem written by CJ Langenhoven in May 1918. The music was composed
by the Reverend ML de Villiers in 1921.
The South African Broadcasting
Corporation played both God save the King and Die Stem
to close their daily broadcasts and the public became familiar with
it. 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 government made the announcement that Die Stem
had been accepted as the official national anthem of South Africa.
In the same year, government also acquired the copyright and this
was confirmed by an Act of Parliament in 1959. In 1952, the official
English version of the national anthem, The Call of South Africa
was accepted for official use.
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was
composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Methodist mission school
teacher. The words of the first stanza were originally written in
Xhosa as a hymn. Seven additional stanzas in Xhoza were later added
by the poet, Samuel Mqhayi. A Sesotho version was published by Moses
Mphahlele in 1942. Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was popularised
at concerts held in Johannesburg by Reverend JL Dube's Ohlange Zulu
Choir. It became a popular church hymn that was later adopted as an
anthem at political meetings. It was sung as an act of defiance
during the Apartheid years. The first stanza is generally sung in
Xhosa or Zulu followed by the Sesotho version. Apparently there is
no standard version or translations of Nkosi and the words vary from
place to place and from occasion to occasion.