Die Stem van Suid-Afrika

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

Music sample

Die Stem van Suid-Afrika (Afrikaans: [di ˈstɛm fɐn sœi̯t ˈɐfrikɑː]) or "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]


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 van Suid-Afrika" 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]

"Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" retained official status after the advent of full multi-racial 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 van Suid-Afrika" 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 van Suid-Afrika" was sung at ceremonies in both official languages prior 1994, with some English medium schools in what was then Natal Province singing the first verse in Afrikaans and the second in English. In 1997, following the adoption of a new constitution, a new hybrid anthem was introduced, which combined "Nkosi Sikelel 'iAfrika" and "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika".


Excerpt from the F.A.K.-Volksangbundel.
"Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" "The Call of South Africa" Literal translation from Afrikaans
First verse
Uit die blou van onse hemel, Ringing out from our blue heavens, From the blue of our heaven
Uit die diepte van ons see, From our deep seas breaking round, From the depths of our sea,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes Over everlasting mountains, Over our eternal mountain ranges
Waar die kranse antwoord gee. Where the echoing crags resound, Where the cliffs give answer
Deur ons vêr verlate vlaktes From our plains where creaking wagons, Through our far-deserted plains
Met die kreun van ossewa. Cut their trails into the earth, With the groan of ox-wagon
Ruis die stem van ons geliefde, Calls the spirit of our country, Rustles the voice of our beloved,
Van ons land Suid-Afrika. Of the land that gave us birth. Of our country South Africa
Ons sal antwoord op jou roepstem, At thy call we shall not falter, We will answer to your calling,
Ons sal offer wat jy vra: Firm and steadfast we shall stand, We will offer what you ask
Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe, At thy will to live or perish, We will live, we will die
Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika. O South Africa, dear land. We for Thee, South Africa
Second verse
In die murg van ons gebeente, In our body and our spirit, In the marrow of our bones
in ons hart en siel en gees, In our inmost heart held fast; In our heart and soul and spirit
In ons roem op ons verlede, In the promise of our future, In the glory of our past
In ons hoop op wat sal wees. And the glory of our past; In our hope of what will be
In ons wil en werk en wandel, In our will, our work, our striving, In our will and work and wander,
Van ons wieg tot aan ons graf. From the cradle to the grave- From our crib to our grave
Deel geen ander land ons liefde, There's no land that shares our loving, Share no other land our love,
Trek geen ander trou ons af. And no bond that can enslave. No other loyalty can sway us.
Vaderland, ons sal die adel, Thou hast borne us and we know thee, Fatherland! We will bear the nobility
Van jou naam met ere dra: May our deeds to all proclaim Of your name with honour:
Waar en trou as Afrikaners, Our enduring love and service Dedicated and true as Afrikaners,
Kinders van Suid-Afrika. To thy honour and thy name. Children of South Africa
Third verse
In die songloed van ons somer, In the golden warmth of summer, In the sunglow of our summer,
in ons winternag se kou, In the chill of winter's air, In our winter night's cold
In die lente van ons liefde, In the surging life of springtime, In the spring of our love,
in die lanfer van ons rou. In the autumn of despair; In the autumn of our sorrow
By die klink van huw'liksklokkies, When the wedding bells are chiming, At the sound of wedding bells,
by die kluit-klap op die kis. Or when those we love do depart, At the stonefall on the coffin.
Streel jou stem ons nooit verniet nie, Thou dost know us for thy children Soothes your voice us never in vain,
Weet jy waar jou kinders is. And dost take us to thy heart You know where your children are.
Op jou roep sê ons nooit née nie, Loudly peals the answering chorus; At your call we never say no,
Sê ons altyd, altyd ja: We are thine, and we shall stand, We always, always say yes:
Om te lewe, om te sterwe - Be it life or death, to answer To live, to die –
Ja, ons kom, Suid-Afrika. To thy call, beloved land. Yes, we come South Africa
Fourth verse
Op U Almag vas vertrouend In thy power, Almighty, trusting, On your almight steadfast entrusted
het ons vadere gebou: Did our fathers build of old; Had our fathers built:
Skenk ook ons die krag, o Here! Strengthen then, O Lord, their children Give to us also the strength, o Lord!
Om te handhaaf en te hou. To defend, to love, to hold- To sustain and to preserve.
Dat die erwe van ons vadere That the heritage they gave us That the heritage of our fathers
Vir ons kinders erwe bly: For our children yet may be; For our children heritage remain
Knegte van die Allerhoogste, Bondsmen only to the Highest Servants of the almighty,
Teen die hele wêreld vry. And before the whole world free. Against the whole world free.
Soos ons vadere vertrou het, As our fathers trusted humbly, As our fathers trusted,
Leer ook ons vertrou, o Heer: Teach us, Lord to trust Thee still; Teach us also to trust, o Lord:
Met ons land en met ons nasie Guard our land and guide our people With our land and with our nation
Sal dit wel wees, God regeer. In Thy way to do Thy will. It will be well, God reigns.

See also


  1. 1 2 "Die Stem period of use". Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  2. "Dual status". Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  3. 1 2 "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. The 1992 return match - Teams, Anthems and Haka. YouTube. 28 May 2011.
  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 audio
Instrumental rendition
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