MUSIC MONTH: Song of the Day Once
One of the greatest abilities of music is the ability to have everyone , of different races and creeds, all come together under a uniform identiy. Like the face on that famous british airways advert.
This instalment of the song of the day touches on a piece of music that either people generally love or hate. it’s the national anthem.
Apart from big sporting countries and events, you don’t generally get to hear the national anthem that often. To be fair, the British one is pretty rubbish anywho.
We have a wide variety of people here with all different backgrounds and the tune itself simply concentrates on one person. The Queen, the one person God really shouldn’t be focussing on saving because she holds everything in place and lives quite the cushty life herself. Now that’s not to say he shouldn’t save her at all but he shouldn’t have her as a priority over anyone else.
Plus in this multicultural and belief based society, having everyone assume a certain religious disposition for the sake of national identity sounds a bit weird.
But it was shortly after hearing the british national anthem one day that I heard something that was just beyond comprehension.
It was during the rugby world cup final in 2007 and after England had their national anthem, a team stepped up to the mark,
15 brave warriors came out and sang. Each and every single one of them.
Grown men, singing with their full lungs and at the top of their voices all in unison.
And it was simply beautiful
Their vocals were accompanied by the most melodic of melodies and their were supported by at least half of the crowd, it was electric.
Their pride was beyond words and you could feel that they all felt part of something, something bigger. When you think of South Africa’s history, it makes this point far more poignant.
I was physically moved by this overwhelming sense of belonging and I had yet to feel it replicated in any major sport (since most teams don’t have an anthem and most national sides have pretty shit anthems which no one bothers singing anyway).
While hearing it, I realised it was one of the only anthems were the actual country is mentioned in it, which I thought was fantastic, their national identity was there for the world to hear at regular intervals, just incase you forgot where this sense of pride resonated from
Not to mention, I thought they were all singing in one language but when it switched to english at the end, it took me for six, the fact they had incorporated two languages (as I thought), into the mix really stirred it up and made it stand out.
So i did a teeny bit of research, here it is for those interested
The Song, is based off an old hymn named Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, it was written by a dude called Enouch Sontanga in 1887 but came to fame as it was used as a voice against the Aparthied movement. It was then merged with the then current anthem in 1997, when Nelson Mandela came to power.
The tune also manages to encorporate not just two but FIVE of the main languages of South Africa into one song, highlighting even a greater amount of unity than even I had imagined. Having come from two countries, both with multi-ethinic backgrounds, seeing inclusion on that scale is just exasperating.
Now I’m not hear to suggest that the issues in South Africa are all gone, far from it, but I just want to clarify two things.
Firstly I’m here because along time ago, people sat in a room and decided to create a concept, a template for the future, a road map for where their people should be headed. I think they should be congratulated for that.
This national anthem is not only the route to this said place, but the call to sound when they finally reached there.
Also finally, for a second, just a second, when this song plays and you hear people singing it, they become part of something bigger, something bigger than themselves, bigger than their cumulative mass, bigger than the mass of the weight of the country they stand on, bigger than the synergy of all their energies combined.
They become one.
And there is no greater feeling than that.
Enoch Sotonga/C.J Langenhoven – Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika
DISCLAIMER: This awesome song does not make up for the funny South Africans accent though…