Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Zambia: Minor Changes to the National Anthem Needed

Share

By Henry Kyambalesa

The National Anthems of Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are based on a Christian hymn entitled “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” (or “Lord Bless Africa”) composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Xhosa clergyman, at a Methodist mission school near Johannesburg in South Africa.

The purpose of this article is to suggest a few minor changes to the National Anthem of the Republic of Zambia, which became the country’s official Anthem upon the passage of the National Anthem Act by the National Assembly in September 1973.

The following are the lyrics of the current National Anthem of the Republic of Zambia:

“Stand and sing of Zambia, proud and free,
Land of work and joy in unity,
Victors in the struggle for the right,
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.

Chorus:

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.”

Firstly, we need to change “for the right” in Part I of the Anthem to “for our rights.” Secondly, we need to add the following soon after the “Brothers under the sun” line in Part II: “Si’ters under the sun,” where “Si’ters” would represent “Sisters.” Thirdly, we need to change the “is our cry” in the first line of Part III to “are our cry.”

And fourthly, we need to change the “Free men we stand” in the chorus to “Free ‘zens we stand,” where “‘zens” would represent “citizens.”

We need to seriously consider the prospect of making the foregoing minor changes to our beloved country’s National Anthem mainly to make it more gender-neutral. The new era National Anthem for the Republic of Zambia would, therefore, be read or sang as follows:

“Stand and sing of Zambia, proud and free,
Land of work and joy in unity,
Victors in the struggle for our 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,
Si’ters under the sun,
All one, strong and free.

One land and one nation are 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.

Chorus:

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

In 2005, according to Wikipedia, women’s groups in the country fruitlessly petitioned for a number of the lyrics in “Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free” to be changed, because they felt that some of the lyrics were too male-orientated. And in 2012, Prof. Michelo Hansungule echoed the women’s concerns that the country’s Anthem was too masculine, and also argued that it might have intellectual property implications because it had the same tune as the National Anthem of the Republic of South Africa.

33 COMMENTS

    • Instead of “motherland” in the second stanza, may be it should be “our own continent “. “Her” should also be replaced by “its “.

    • Henry Kyambalesa ##
      Aishhh………stay away from weed, pot, dope, marijuana coming from Mexico and Columbia into the USA……

      INDEPENDENT OBSERVER ##
      …………Thank you for taking your time to educate Henry Kyambalesa……

    • Kyambalesa and his half-baked articles! Yayi Please do your research properly before bringing it to an audience if you are to maintain any respect. Have you listened to the anthems you have cited? Zimbabwe’s anthem isnt in any way like ours. Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa share a melody-not lyrics.
      Its an age-old melody sang by Bantu tribes long before Enoch Sontonga put his hymn lyrics to it. The Bemba will tell you they sang part of the Sontonga melody on their way from Angola in the 14th century. The Zambian anthem became the country’s official Anthem on October 24, 1964 not upon the passage of the National Anthem Act by the National Assembly in September 1973.

    • Gender issues are overplayed. I suggest we leave this to Westerners cos it has no effect on us. Language has no role to play in gender relations in Africa. Just because someone did a research in America doesnt mean the results are applicable to Africa.
      Why in any case hasnt anyone complained about the line “Africa is our own motherland?” Fatherland? In all of the bantu languages the problem doesnt arise because gender isnt structurally attached to the subject. Our languages are already advanced enough not to worry about which gender the action comes from. Even our names are rarely tied to gender. Musole, Mweene, Mwaka, Lumba, Mwansa, Ngoza can be boy or girl

  1. Good thinking.
    However, may I suggest that instead of “Free ‘zens we stand”, it be simply “Freely we stand”.
    Thank you.

    1
    1
  2. Follow umuntu philosophy. It is a waste of time and breath to be following the same trend of thought as gender related issues. Do not mess up with the lyrics of the Nationl Anthem. When we sing the National Anthem we do understand and know the meaning of the words in the Song. You have the right to come up with your own input. Leave the Ntional Anthem alone.

    6
    1
  3. 1. The Zambian National Anthem does NOT talk about Christianity. God is not a – Christian, Moslem, Jewish, Bhudist, Hindu etc. . You can be a spiritual person and believe in God who is perceived as the creator of the Universe without belonging to any of these religions. Religious denominations were not created by God but by ordinary men.

    A Christian is someone who follows the teachings and beliefs of Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion centered around the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Lord, in the Anthem refers just to God, not Christianity.

    17
  4. 2. In a similar way, morden Quantum Physics, Epigenetic, Neuroscience, are sciences that refers to the source of creation as “Energy”. Why?

    Because The law of Thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed – it can only be converted from one form of energy to another. For example water can be ice solid, liquid, and clouds. Its still water. Thermodynamics has applications in various fields, such as engineering, chemistry, and biology, and plays a crucial role in understanding processes like heat engines, chemical reactions, and the behavior of gases. Sorry, i may sound like I am drifting away from the subject, talking about Thermodynamics, but this is just to put things in contect.

    • @Deja Vu

      Kikikiki… This Henry Kyambalesa is extremely childish and it’s just embarrassing “Chikopo Sana.” He is writing things that he does not understand. I like the way @INDEPENDENT OBSERVER has schooled him. There is nothing in our National Anthem that refers to Christianity. There is just the mention of God or Lord the creator of the universe. Where is he getting all this diabolical talk.

  5. The next thing we are going to hear about this is that we should have a Commission, at great cost, to gather views nationwide about the matter, when we have so many pressing needs in the country.
    Leave well enough alone, is a good adage.
    I am declaring an interest here: my late great uncle was one of the people who wrote the lyrics, together with a white woman. My uncle then conducted the choirs which officially sang the anthem at Independence Stadium on 24 October 1964.

    • It’s nonsensical × 1000 times.
      There is no Christianity in the lyrics.
      Good that @@INDEPENDENT OBSERVER has undressed this fossil.

  6. Kkkkkk Let’s also change a line in Bob Marley’s song zimbabwe. To sing “Africans have failed to liberate Zimbabwe”. Is it necessary? No. We have been singing that song from the time we were young and you want us to start learning the corrected stanzas now. Needless. Those wanting to change will be singing the corrected one as the anthem is in progress.

  7. God’s good hand; should just read as GOD’S HAND not to suggest otherwise.

    Athems should sound masculine that is STRONG or showing STRENGTH and WILL POWER.
    Athems has nothing to do with GENDA
    Athems are neutor Gendor
    A woman and a man are just jobs they have to fill the earth.

    • African languages most of the time dont have inherent gender wars in their structure. We dont separate he and she. Just try translating the bemba word Bamunyinane and see how gender free the lingo is.

  8. Interesting!
    Firstly, Let’s start by changing the meaningless name ” Zambia” to the rightful name ” Zambezi”. You can’t deform such a beautiful name ” Zambezi” into a meaningless Zambia , just for the sake of expediency.
    In fact , Zambezi rightfully described this nation , just like Zimbabwe maintained their historical name.
    Secondly, let’s compose our own tune/melody.

    We can do all these while we are working hard , as citizens, to improve our economy. Let’s not wait for One person to fix

    • Tell me how Japan, China, Brazil Italy, Canada, Russia, to name a few, have meaning. Names will be bequeathed or will either identify what you are or what you aspire to be. Zambia was the new nation being mooted on land mostly connected to the Zambezi river

  9. Lumpenela … The tunes of the Zambian, Tanzanian and South African anthems particularly are the same. The 1897 lyrics relating to “the struggle” for independence and “nationhood” played a part in the composition of Zimbabwe’s and Namibia’s anthems.

    • Awe mukwai I have stated that: “Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa share a melody-not lyrics” Namibia’s anthem “Dziko la wolimba” has a very different melody and lyrics. Zim also has a different melody and lyrics. The melody Nkosi sikeleli assumes was sung long before the white man who introduced intellectual property laws, arrived. Sontonga just happened to be the first one to register it under Western laws.

  10. Lumpenela … Sontonga’s hymn was the precursor to Zimbabwe’s “Ishe Komborera Africa” and “Ishe Komborera Zimbabwe” (1980 — 1994) and the country’s current anthem. The same applies to Namibia’s anthem.

  11. Lumpenela … there’s nowhere in this short article where KyambaGod is suggesting that the lyrics and/or the tunes of the five countries he has mentioned are the same.

Comments are closed.

Read more

Local News

Discover more from Lusaka Times-Zambia's Leading Online News Site - LusakaTimes.com

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading