3 African countries with similar national anthems

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 24 Jan, 2023 07:00 | 2 mins read
South Africans singing there national anthem. PHOTO/Courtesy

Three African countries namely South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania have national anthems that are based on the same hymn.

The three countries' national anthems are based on the hymn Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (Xhosa word for Lord Bless Africa) which was composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontoga.

The song became a pan-African liberation song and versions of it were later adopted as national anthems by some African countries including Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia and Zimbabwe after independence, and South Africa after the end of apartheid.

The three nations have over time partially modified the lyrics of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, with Tanzania translating it from the Xhosa language to Swahili.

Modifications and lyrics of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

South Africa

South Africa's current national anthem infuses new English lyrics with extracts from Enoch Sontoga's hymn ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’.

South Africa’s national anthem features five of the most widely spoken of the country’s eleven official languages – Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English.

Language: isiXhosa and isiZulu
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa)
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo, (Raise high Her glory)
Yizwa imithandazo yethu, (Hear our Prayers)
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo
(God bless us, we her children)


Language: English

Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.


The Zambian national anthem "Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free" also owes its tune to the hymn Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. The lyrics were composed after Zambian independence to specifically reflect Zambia, as opposed to Enoch Sontonga's lyrics, which refer to Africa as a whole.

Lyrics of the Zambian National Anthem

Stand and sing of Zambia, proud and free,
Land of work and joy in unity,
Victors in the struggle for the rights,
We've won freedom's fight.
All one, strong and free.

Africa is our own motherland,
Fashion'd with and blessed by God's good hand,
Let us all her people join as one,
Brothers under the sun.
All one, strong and free.

One land and one nation is our cry,
Dignity and peace 'neath Zambia's sky,
Like our noble eagle in its flight,
Zambia, praise to thee.
All one, strong and free.

Praise be to God,
Praise be, praise be, praise be,
Bless our great nation,
Zambia, Zambia, Zambia.
Free men we stand
Under the flag of our land.
Zambia, praise to thee!
All one, strong and free.



The Tanzanian national anthem "Mungu ibariki Afrika" is a translation of Enoch Sontonga's popular hymn "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika".

Other modifications were also done to the lyrics to make it more of a prayer for Tanzania as opposed to Sontonga's wholesome prayer for Africa in his original composition.



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.