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12. Prayer for Africa

Bless, O Lord, our country, Africa,
So that she may waken from her sleep.
Fill her horn with plenty, guide her feet.
Hear us faithful sons.* Hear us faithful sons.
Spirit, descend, Spirit, descend,
Spirit, descend, Spirit, descend, Spirit divine.
Hear us, faithful sons.

Bwana, ibariki Afrika,
Iliipate kuamka.
Maombi ye tu yasikilel.
Utubariki. Utubariki.
Uje Roho, Uje Roho,
Uje Roho, Uje Roho, Utujaze.

Nkosi, sikelel'i Afrika,
Malupakam' upondolwayo;
Yiva imitandazo yetu.
Usisikelele, Usisikelele,
Yihla Moya, Yihla Moya,
Yihla Moya, Oying cwele.

Text Information
First Line: Bless, O Lord, our country, Africa
Title: Prayer for Africa
Zulu Title: Nkosi sikelel' i Afrika
Author: Enoch Sontonga
Translator (into English): Katherine F. Rohrbough
Translator (into Swahili): Ngethe Njroje
Language: English; Swahili; Zulu
Publication Date: 1981
Topic: Hymns
Copyright: From "Sing It Again" © 1958, World Around Songs. Used by permission.
Notes: Now Public Domain; * "ones" may be substituted for sons.
Tune Information
Name: [Bless, O Lord, our country, Africa]
Composer: Enoch Sontonga
Arranger: Walter F. Anderson
Key: F Major or modal
Copyright: From "Sing It Again" © 1958, World Around Songs. Used by permission.
Notes: Now Public Domain

Text Information:


Nkos [sic] Sikele'i Afrika was composed in 1897 and first publicly sung in 1899. The composition has a somewhat melancholy strain. The black folk around Johannesburg were, at the time, far from happy. The piece was commonly sung in native day schools and further popularized by the Ohlange Zulu Choir that visited the Rand giving concerts.

When the African National Congress flourished, its leaders adopted this piece as a closing anthem for their meetings, and this soon became a custom in the other provinces in connection with all types of Bantu organizations. Of late the black races of the Union and the Protectorates have somehow by tacit assumption adopted it as their recognized national anthem, sung before royalty and on big public occasions.

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