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Mungu ibariki Afrika

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Mungu ibariki Afrika
English: God Bless Africa

National anthem of Tanzania
Also known asMungu ibariki Tanzania (English: God Bless Tanzania)
MusicEnoch Sontonga, 1897
Adopted1961; 63 years ago (1961)
Audio sample
U.S. Navy Band instrumental version (one verse)

"Mungu ibariki Afrika" (English: "God bless Africa") is the national anthem of Tanzania. It is a Swahili language version of Enoch Sontonga's popular hymn "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika".[1]


The word Mungu in Swahili means God and its title, therefore, translates as "God bless Africa".


"Mungu ibariki Afrika" was translated and became the state anthem of Tanganyika. It was essentially assigned to Enoch Sontonga, who died in 1905. "Mungu ibariki Afrika" used the tune to "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" with a Swahili translation of the words. It is not known who composed the lyrics, but it is known that it was Samuel Mqhayi and Enoch Sontonga who created the early versions used by the African National Congress.[2]

Swahili translation[edit]

It was first performed in Swahili at a ceremony on 8 December 1961 following the independence of Tanganyika from the British Empire. "Mungu ibariki Afrika" was composed to replace the British national anthem, "God Save the Queen", as the national anthem of Tanganyika.[3] This made Tanganyika the first African nation to adopt the tune of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" as its national anthem.[4] In 1964, Tanganyika formed a union with Zanzibar, which created the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar (later renamed to Tanzania). The newly united country adopted "Mungu ibariki Afrika" as its national anthem instead of Zanzibar's anthem.[4] Tanzania's use of "Mungu ibariki Afrika" led the way for other African countries such as Zimbabwe; Ciskei and Transkei adopted "Nkosi Sikelel' Afrika", in parts, as their national anthems. South Africa, where the song comes from, uses only some of the words, Zambia uses only the tune and other countries have now abandoned its use.[2] "Mungu ibariki Afrika" was inspired by the African National Congress's (ANC) use of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" ("God Bless Africa") as its party song after its use at Ohlange High School. The ANC party anthem led to "Mungu ibariki Afrika" being selected as the national anthem of Tanzania.[5][6][7] "Mungu ibariki Afrika" is also used as a hymn requesting Tanzania remain united and independent.[8]

Tanganyika, and later Tanzania, had concerns about religious unrest between Christians and Muslims after independence. This was because of Christian references in government proceedings and official oaths. The wording of "Mungu ibariki Afrika" was intended to help offset this by being inclusive of the different religious views.[9]

"Mungu ibariki Afrika" is sung daily at Tanzanian schools. A circular issued in 1998 by the nation's Commissioner of Education recommended the singing of the national anthem as a way to promote patriotism in Tanzania's youth.[10]

In 2007, a legal issue arose over the anthem, after students who were members of the Jehovah's Witnesses refused to sing the song at their primary and secondary schools in Mbozi District, Mbeya Region. Five students were expelled from school, and 122 others received other forms of discipline for their refusal.[10] They objected to singing the anthem because they believed it suggested obeisance to the flag of Tanzania before God.[11] On 2 December 2010, the High Court of Tanzania ruled that the schools' disciplinary actions were appropriate.[10][11] The Court of Appeal of Tanzania overturned that ruling on 12 July 2013, indicating that the disciplinary action taken by the school was unlawful and stating that there was no obligation to sing the national anthem in Tanzanian law.[11]


Swahili lyrics[12][13] IPA transcription[a] English translation[13][14]

Mungu ibariki Afrika
Wabariki Viongozi wake
Hekima Umoja na Amani
Hizi ni ngao zetu
Afrika na watu wake.

Kiitikio ya kwanza:
Ibariki Afrika, Ibariki Afrika
Tubariki watoto wa Afrika.

Mungu ibariki Tanzania
Dumisha uhuru na Umoja
Wake kwa Waume na Watoto
Mungu Ibariki
Tanzania na watu wake.

Kiitikio ya pili:
Ibariki Tanzania, Ibariki Tanzania
Tubariki watoto wa Tanzania.

[mu.ᵑɡu i.ɓɑ.ri.ki ɑ.fri.kɑ]
[wɑ.ɓɑ.ri.ki vi.ɔ.ᵑɡɔ.zi wɑ.kɛ]
[hɛ.ki.mɑ u.mɔ.ʄɑ nɑ ɑ.mɑ.ni]
[hi.zi ni ᵑɡɑ.ɔ zɛ.tu]
[ɑ.fri.kɑ nɑ wɑ.tu wɑ.kɛ]

[kiː.ti.ki.ɔ jɑ kwɑ.ⁿzɑ]
[i.ɓɑ.ri.ki ɑ.fri.kɑ i.ɓɑ.ri.ki ɑ.fri.kɑ]
[tu.ɓɑ.ri.ki wɑ.tɔ.tɔ wɑ ɑ.fri.kɑ]

[mu.ᵑɡu i.ɓɑ.ri.ki tɑ.ⁿzɑ.ni.ɑ]
[ɗu.mi.ʃɑ u.hu.ru nɑ u.mɔ.ʄɑ]
[wɑ.kɛ kwɑ wɑ.u.mɛ nɑ wɑ.tɔ.tɔ]
[mu.ᵑɡu i.ɓɑ.ri.ki]
[tɑ.ⁿzɑ.ni.ɑ nɑ wɑ.tu wɑ.kɛ]

[kiː.ti.ki.ɔ jɑ pi.li]
[i.ɓɑ.ri.ki tɑ.ⁿzɑ.ni.ɑ i.ɓɑ.ri.ki tɑ.ⁿzɑ.ni.ɑ]
[tu.ɓɑ.ri.ki wɑ.tɔ.tɔ wɑ tɑ.ⁿzɑ.ni.ɑ]

God bless Africa
Bless its leaders
Wisdom, unity and peace
These are our shields
Africa and its people

Chorus I:
Bless Africa, Bless Africa
Bless us, the children of Africa

God bless Tanzania
Grant eternal freedom and unity
To its women, men and children
God bless
Tanzania and its people

Chorus II:
Bless Tanzania, Bless Tanzania
Bless us, the children of Tanzania



  1. ^ Lyimo, Karl (21 March 1990). "National symbols? What happened to the giraffe?". The Citizen. Archived from the original on 24 July 2018. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Tanzania: Mungu ibariki Afrika". NationalAnthems.info. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  3. ^ Taylor, James (1963). The Political Development of Tanganyika. Stanford University Press. p. 217. ISBN 0804701474.
  4. ^ a b Pritchett, Bev (2007). Tanzania in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 69. ISBN 978-0822585718.
  5. ^ "Address of the Patron of the TMF, Thabo Mbeki, at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, in honour of the Centenary of the ANC: 22 November, 2012". Thabombekifoundation.org.za. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  6. ^ "A Tribute To Enoch Sontonga: "Nkosi Sikelel' I-Afrika"". History Matters. Archived from the original on 30 January 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  7. ^ Heale, Jay (2010). Tanzania. Marshall Cavendish. p. 116. ISBN 978-0761434177.
  8. ^ Mugini, Jacob (2013). "FCS enables multitudes to participate in draft constitution discussion". The Foundation (July–September 2013). The Foundation for Civil Society. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  9. ^ Freider, Ludwig (1999). Church and State in Tanzania: Aspects of Changing in Relationships, 1961-1994. BRILL. p. 56. ISBN 9004115064.
  10. ^ a b c "Tanzania: Dons Fault Court Over Suspension of Students (Page 1 of 2)". allAfrica.com. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Kibakaya, Esther (18 August 2013). "How much of our religion must we bring to school?". The Citizen. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Tovuti Kuu ya Serikali: Wimbo wa Taifa". Government of the United Republic of Tanzania. 1 March 2022. Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  13. ^ a b "The National symbols". Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania in Rome. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Tanzania Government Portal: National Anthem". Government of the United Republic of Tanzania. 28 October 2020. Archived from the original on 28 October 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2022.

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