Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
"Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" ("Lord Bless Africa" in Xhosa), was originally composed as a hymn in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a teacher at a Methodist mission school in Johannesburg, to the tune 'Aberystwyth' by Joseph Parry. The song became a pan-African liberation anthem and was later adopted as the national anthem of five countries in Africa including Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia and Zimbabwe after independence. Zimbabwe and Namibia have since adopted new national anthems. The song is currently the national anthem of Tanzania, Zambia and since 1994, a portion of the national anthem of South Africa.
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was originally composed as a hymn in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a teacher at a Methodist mission school in Johannesburg, using the tune 'Aberystwyth' originally composed by Joseph Parry in 1879. The words of the first stanza were originally written in Xhosa as a hymn. In 1927 seven additional Xhosa stanzas were added by the poet Samuel Mqhayi.
Words and translation 
Original hymn as composed by Enoch Sontonga, but not as used in the National anthem of South Africa, in which the first two of the stanza are sung in Xhosa and the last two in Zulu. Second stanza sang in Sesotho. Third stanza sang in Afrikaans as part of the original anthem, Die Stem van Suid-Afrika. Fourth stanza sang in English.
Current national anthem 
South Africa 
The song was the official anthem for the African National Congress during the apartheid era and was a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. For decades during the apartheid regime it was considered by many to be the unofficial national anthem of South Africa, representing the suffering of the oppressed. In 1994 after the fall of apartheid, the new President of South Africa Nelson Mandela declared that both "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" and the previous national anthem, "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" ("The Call of South Africa") would be national anthems. While the inclusion of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" celebrated the newfound freedom of many South Africans, the fact that "Die Stem" was also kept as an anthem even after the fall of apartheid, signified to all that the new government under Mr Mandela respected all races and cultures and that an all-inclusive new era was dawning upon South Africa. In 1996, a shortened, combined version of the two anthems was released as the new national anthem of South Africa under the constitution of South Africa.
The hymn is the national anthem of Zambia.
A Swahili version of the hymn (Mungu ibariki Afrika) is the national anthem of Tanzania.
Retired national anthem 
'Ishe Komborera Africa' is the Shona version of 'God Bless Africa' and was Zimbabwe's first national anthem, adopted after gaining independence in 1980.
The song was the former national anthem of Namibia.
Other countries and organisations 
In other African countries throughout southern Africa, the song was sung as part of the anti-colonial movements. It includes versions in Chichewa (Malawi and Zambia). Outside of Africa, the hymn is perhaps best known as the long-time (since 1925) anthem of the African National Congress (ANC), as a result of the global anti-Apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s, when it was regularly sung at meetings and other events.
In Finland the same melody is used as the children's psalm Kuule Isä Taivaan (Hear, Heavenly Father). The first part of the hymn has appeared in the hymnbook of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland since 1985 with lyrics by Jaakko Löytty.
Solomon Plaatje, one of South Africa's greatest writers and a founding member of the ANC, was the first to have the song recorded in London, 1923. A Sotho version was published in 1942 by Moses Mphahlele. Rev. John Langalibalele Dube's Ohlange Zulu Choir popularised the hymn at concerts in Johannesburg, and it became a popular church hymn that was also adopted as the anthem at political meetings.
In Kenya, Mang'u High School uses a translation, Mungu Ibariki Mang'u High, as its school anthem.
It has also been recorded by Paul Simon and Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Boom Shaka, Osibisa, Oliver Mtukudzi (the Shona version that was once the anthem of Zimbabwe) and the Mahotella Queens. Boom Shaka, a prominent South African kwaito group, performed the anthem in kwaito style, a popular South African genre influenced by hip-hop. The interpretation was controversial, and viewed by some as a commercial subversion of the anthem; Boom Shaka counter that their version represents liberation and introduces the song to younger listeners.
See also 
- Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
- National anthem of South Africa
- National anthem of Zambia
- Ishe Komborera Africa (Zimbabwe)
- "ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AFRICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE. VOLUME IV - THE COLONIAL ERA (1850 TO 1960)". Scribd.com. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
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