Sheet Music: National Anthem of South Africa

TitleNational Anthem of South Africa
Alternate titlesNkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Lord Bless Africa
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
The Voice of South Africa
The Call of South Africa
ComposerEnoch Sontonga (1873–1905)
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyG major
Time signature4/4
Tempo92 BPM
Performance time1:40
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (49 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (800 kB)
Date added2010-03-01
Last updated2010-03-01
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National anthems, Patriotic


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Monday 1 March 2010

Tune of the Day: National Anthem of South Africa

Music by Enoch Sontonga and M.L. de Villiers

Since 1997, the South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining the hymn “Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika” and the former anthem “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika”. It is the only national anthem in the world that does not finish in the home key. In fact, the first section of the anthem is in G major, while the second section is in D major.

The anthem starts with the tune “Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika”, composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Methodist school teacher. This was originally sung as a church hymn but later became an act of political defiance against the apartheid government. The second tune is that of the former South African anthem “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika”, which was set to music by the Reverend Marthinus Lourens de Villiers in 1921. The South African government under Nelson Mandela adopted both songs as national anthems from 1995 until they were merged in 1997 to form the current anthem.