The South African national anthem, Nkosi Sikelei’ iAfrika, was awarded the best national anthem in the world title by The Economist in December 2017. And it is easy to see why as it pieces together five different official South African languages to create an act of musical healing.
As most South Africans have a specific memory of the anthem evoking emotion within them, we have compiled a list of five of the most emotional iterations of the anthem:
1. When the sound failed, and the crowd carried on singing
During the ‘international friendly’, the rugby test match in 2014, Afrikaans superstar Kurt Darren was tasked with performing the national anthem. However, there were some technical difficulties and the sound cut out, but the crowd and the players did not miss a beat as they carried on singing passionately in acapella.
2. When performed by the Soweto Gospel Choir
The Grammy award winning gospel group has performed the national anthem many times with passion, vigour, and an array of beautiful voices. The group have performed for Nelson Mandela, and were featured on the Paul Simon produced album for the film Wall-E which garnered them a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination. This particular performance took place in 2005 and is featured on their ‘Blessed Live in Concert’ DVD.
3. The Springboks singing the anthem at the 1995 World Cup final
One of the most iconic moments in South African history, which has become synonymous with the reconciliation of the country post-apartheid features the players including captain Francois Pienaar singing the anthem. If anything, this was the point that showed the power of sports in creating a sense of pride and hope.
4. The performance by Khayelitsha United Mambazo Choir in 2012
This all-men choir which was established in 1991 with men from Khayelitsha, the largest township in Cape Town. The style of their performances is ‘isicathamiya’ which is unaccompanied in a sort of question-and-answer style that was originated in the 1920’s and 1930’s. This particular performance took place in 2012 while on their first theatre tour of the Netherlands.
5. An adorable 2-year-old boy sings the anthem
In a sweet display of patriotism, a video featuring a 2-year-old boy became popular in 2013 as he passionately sings the national anthem with his arm over his chest and his eyes closed.
Upload your own stirring national Anthem rendition here and stand a chance to be able to donate R1 million in cash and prizes to the charity of your choice. A feel-good moment all round!
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