James de Villiers, News24
Cape Town – The EFF on Tuesday called for Die Stem to be removed from the national anthem, in celebration of Enoch Sontonga who composed Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.
Tuesday marks the 120th anniversary of Sontonga’s death. He died on April 18, 1905, aged 32.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Sontonga wrote Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika as a prayer against the violence blacks experienced.
“The inclusion of ‘Die Stem’ is not only an adulteration of Sontonga’s prayer, but it is as though Nkosi Sikelela is only made complete by adding what were considered European languages to it,” Ndlozi said.
“The song is an existential plea at the end of the 19th century to a God who seemed deaf to the African cry and blind to its suffering.”
Die Stem was the national anthem of apartheid South Africa from 1957 to 1994. In 1997, the song was merged with Nkosi Sikelela to create the current South African national anthem. The last section of Die Stem was translated into English during the merger.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is the current national anthem of Tanzania.