One day my classroom assistant was reduced to tears. I was not sure why at the time. We had just had a new six-year-old starting from South Africa. He was a white South African. One of the first things he did was to ask if he could sing a song to the class. “Well, yes, sure, great.”
This is what he sang:
‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (The Call of South Africa)’
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (Xhosa)
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo (Xhosa)
Yizwa imithandazo yethu, (Zulu)
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho Iwayo. (Zulu)
Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso, (Sesotho)
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho, (Sesotho)
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso, (Sesotho)
Setjhaba sa, South Afrika, South Afrika. (Sesotho)
“When I sang that to my class in South Africa, it made them cry,” was his comment. And then I noticed my classroom assistant in tears. She knew it was the new South African national anthem. The small white child, the son of the very recent white masters of South Africa, singing about the new nation, blessed with the amazing Peace and Reconciliation ushered in by Nelson Mandela.
South Africa’s national anthem features five of the most widely spoken of the country’s eleven official languages – Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English.
Lord bless Africa
May her glory be lifted high,
Hear our petitions
Lord bless us, your children.
Lord we ask You to protect our nation,
Intervene and end all conflicts,
Protect us, protect our nation,
Protect South Africa, South Africa.
Out of the blue of our heavens,
From the depths of our seas,
Over everlasting mountains,
Where the echoing crags resound,
Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land.