Die Stem van Suid-Afrika

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Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
English: The Call of South Africa

National anthem of
South Africa

Lyrics Cornelis Jacobus Langenhoven, 1918
Music Marthinus Lourens de Villiers, 1921
Adopted 1957
1994 Jointly with Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Relinquished 1997

Die Stem van Suid-Afrika ([di ˈstɛm fɑn sə̯jtˈɑfrikɑ], The Call of South Africa) was the national anthem of South Africa from 1957 to 1994,[1] and shared national anthem status with Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika until 1997, when a new hybrid anthem was adopted.[2] It was also the anthem for South-West Africa (modern Namibia) under South African mandate until 1990.[citation needed]


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.[3] 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.[3]

It was not translated into English until 1952, while God Save the Queen did not cease to have official status until 1957.[1] The poem originally had only three verses, but the government asked the author to add a fourth verse with a religious theme.

The anthem speaks throughout of commitment to the Vaderland (father land) and to God. However, the anthem was generally disliked by black South Africans, who saw it as triumphalist and associated it with the apartheid regime where one verse shows dedication to Afrikaners.[4] As the dismantling of apartheid began in the early 1990s, South African teams were readmitted to international sporting events, which presented a problem as to the choice of national identity South Africa had to present. Agreements were made with the African National Congress that Die Stem would not be sung at rugby matches, but at a rugby union test match against New Zealand in 1992, an instrumental version of it was played, and the crowd sang along,[5] instead of the agreed moment of silence for peace and democracy in South Africa.[6] At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona that year, Schiller's Ode to Joy, as set to Beethoven's music, was used instead, along with a neutral Olympic flag.[7]

In spite of this, Die Stem retained official status after the advent of full democracy which followed the 1994 general election. The anthem shared equal status with Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, which had long been a traditional hymn used by the ANC. In 1995, Die Stem was sung by a black choir at the Rugby World Cup final match.[8]

The practice of singing two different anthems had been a cumbersome arrangement during the transition to post-apartheid South Africa. Only the first verse of Die Stem was sung at schools and ceremonies in both official languages prior 1994. In 1997, following the adoption of a new constitution, a new hybrid anthem was introduced, which combined Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and Die Stem.


Die Stem van Suid-Afrika The Call of South Africa Literal translation from Afrikaans
First verse
Uit die blou van onse hemel, From the heights of our sky, From the blue of our heaven,
Uit die diepte van ons see, From the depths of our seas, From the deepneas of our sea,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes Over our eternal mountains, Over our eternal mountains,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee. Where the cliffs are echoing, Where the cliffs echo,
Deur ons vêr verlate vlaktes Through our distant empty plains, Through our far deserted plains,
Met die kreun van ossewa. With the groan of ox-wagon, With the groan of ox-wagon
Ruis die stem van ons geliefde, The voice of our beloved rises, Rises the voice of our beloved,
Van ons land Suid-Afrika. Of our country, South Africa. Of our country South Africa.
Ons sal antwoord op jou roepstem, We will answer your calling, We will answer on your calling voice,
Ons sal offer wat jy vra: What you ask, we'll sacrifice, We will offer what you ask
Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe, We shall live, we shall die, We will live, we will die
Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika. South Africa, for Thee. We for you, South Africa
Second verse
In die murg van ons gebeente, In the essence of our being, In the marrow of our bones
in ons hart en siel en gees, In our spirit, heart and soul, In our heart and soul and spirit.
In ons roem op ons verlede, In the pride of our past glory In our fame of our past
In ons hoop op wat sal wees. And our hope of what may be; In our hope of what will be
In ons wil en werk en wandel, In the course of our life, our will and our work, In our will and work and wander,
Van ons wieg tot aan ons graf. From cradle to grave From our cradle to our grave
Deel geen ander land ons liefde, No other nation has our love, Share no other land our love,
Trek geen ander trou ons af. And our loyalty does not stray. Pulls no other loyalty us off.
Vaderland, ons sal die adel, We will bear the nobility of our Fatherland, Fatherland! We will bear the nobility
Van jou naam met ere dra: Of your name, with honour. Of your name with honour:
Waar en trou as Afrikaners, Loyal and true as Afrikaners, Dedicated and true as Africans,
Kinders van Suid-Afrika. Children of South Africa Children of South Africa
Third verse
In die songloed van ons somer, In the golden glow of summer, In the sunglow of our summer,
In ons winternag se kou, In the chill of winter nights, In our winter night's cold
In die lente van ons liefde, In love of our spring, In the springtime of our love,
In die lanfer van ons rou. And the autumn of our grief; In the autumn of our grief
By die klink van huw'liksklokkies, When wedding bells are chiming, At the chime of wedding bells,
by die kluit-klap op die kis. or the coffin thuds on earth, At the clod-fall on the coffin.
Streel jou stem ons nooit verniet nie, You never soothe us falsely Strokes your voice us never for nothing,
Weet jy waar jou kinders is. You know where your children are, You know where your children are.
Op jou roep sê ons nooit née nie, When you call we won't deny you, At your call we never say no,
Sê ons altyd, altyd ja: We will faithfully say yes, We always, always say yes:
Om te lewe, om te sterwe - To live or to die, To live, to die –
Ja, ons kom, Suid-Afrika. South Africa, we come. Yes, we come South Africa
Fourth verse
Op U Almag vas vertrouend To Almighty always faithful, On Thou omnipotence fast trusting
het ons vadere gebou: Our ancestors did build; Did our fathers built:
Skenk ook ons die krag, o Here! Grant us too the strenght, O lord! Give to us also the strength, o Lord!
Om te handhaaf en te hou. To maintain and to defend. To sustain and to preserve.
Dat die erwe van ons vadere That the heritage of our ancestors That the property of our fathers
Vir ons kinders erwe bly: Will remaim for our decendants; For our children property stay
Knegte van die Allerhoogste, Servamts unto the Almighty Servants of the Almighty,
Teen die hele wêreld vry. To the whole wide world, free. Against the whole world free.
Soos ons vadere vertrou het, Our fathers had faith, Lord As our fathers trusted,
Leer ook ons vertrou, o Heer: Teach us also to believe, Teach also us to trust, o Lord:
Met ons land en met ons nasie So for our land and our country, With our land and with our nation
Sal dit wel wees, God regeer. "God reigns." it shall be. It will be well, God reigns.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Die Stem period of use". Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  2. ^ "Dual status". Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  3. ^ a b "SA National Anthem History". Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  4. ^ "Act of defiance". Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  5. ^ Video on YouTube (2:40)
  6. ^ http://www.e-tools.co.za/newsbrief/1992/news9208.17
  7. ^ "Summer Olympic Games: Ode to Joy". The New York Times. 24 November 1991. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  8. ^ "Rugby World Cup 1995 – Nkosi Sikeleli Africa & New Zealand National Anthem". 

External links[edit]

External audio
Instrumental rendition at the Wayback Machine (archived January 4, 2007)