Popular Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr recently sang the apartheid national anthem ‘Die Stem’ to Australian fans in an Afrikaner club in . Since then, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has requested a parliamentary debate regarding the removal of the Afrikaans part in the current South African national anthem.
It appears that Steve Hofmeyr can’t get enough of Die Stem given that there is evidence of him singing it at a number of his performances in recent years, much to the EFF’s (and many black people’s) anger and resentment. The EFF’s position mirrors that of trade union COSATU which in 2012 also appealed for the removal of the Afrikaans and English parts in the national anthem.
Speaking in parliament, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said “We should remove the Die Stem because it was an apartheid anthem,” later continuing, “Die Stem is a musical ritual that symbolises war for the whites.” In my opinion, the removal of the English and Afrikaans would regress our national anthem’s Mandela-inspired symbolism of reconciliation, as it represents all the multiple languages that South Africa has, meaning everyone can relate to what is being sang.
In democratic South Africa, singing a song like “die stem”, “bulala” and “kill the boer” brings back memories or unhealed scars of the past as many Africans have historical baggage they still haven’t dealt with. Songs that were sang in apartheid stood for violent activities such as preparations for war.
The national anthem as it stands right now caters for all South Africans as it includes Isixhosa, Sesotho,English and Afrikaans. Is the EFF being considerate of other cultures by wanting it to return to its original state as Nkosi’sikeleli Afrika? Did they take into mind what the Die Stem anthem means to Afrikaner people or did they just react like headless chicken? Did Steve Hofmeyr mean any harm by singing the Die Stem or did he too act like a headless chicken knowing that it will bring a negative buzz to black South Africans, with apartheid still being fresh to them?
Nkosi’sikeleli Afrika in its current incarnation is adequate as the anthem of the people. It has the intellectual heritage of liberation and the battle for a more human continent at peace with itself – like Madiba so greatly hoped. It prays not only for South Africa, but the African continent and its people, wherever they are in the world. Whether they’re black or white.
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Opinionated and written by @itsKID_Darkness
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