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Die Stem - South Africa's Former National Anthem

Cornelius Jacob Langenhoven wrote the lyrics to "Die Stem Van Suid-Afrika" ("The Spirit of South Africa") in 1918.  Marthinus Lourens de Villiers set them to music in 1921.
 
The Afrikaans lyrics, of "Die Stem" ("The Spirit"), are also translated into English.  Note the translation is loose, not identical.  It maintains the spirit of the song while also creating a rhyme.

Uit die blou van onse hemel,
(Ringing out from out blue heavens)
Vit die diepte van ons see.
(From our deep seas breaking round)
Oor ons ewige gebergtes waar
(Over everlasting mountains)
Die kranse antwoord gee,
(Where the echoing crags resound)
Deur ons ver-verlate vlaktes
(From our plains where creaking wagons)
Met die kreun van ossewa
(Cut their trails into the earth)
Ruis die stem van ons geliefde,
(Calls the spirit of our Country)
Van ons land Suid-Afrika
(Of the land that gave us birth)
Ons sal antwoord op jou roepstem,
(At thy call we shall not falter)
Ons sal offer wat jy vra:
(Firm and steadfast we shall stand)
Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe
(At thy will to live or perish)
Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika.
(O South Africa, dear land)

In die merg van ons gebeente,
(In our body and our spirit)
In ons hart en siel en gees,
(In our inmost heart held fast)
In ons roem op ons verlede,
(In the promise of our future)
In ons hoop op wat sal wees,
(and the glory of our past)
In ons wil en werk en wandel,
(In our will, our work, our striving)
Van on wieg tot aan ons graf
(From the cradle to the grave)
Deel geen ander land ons liefde,
(There's no land that shares our loving)
Trek geen ander trou ons af.
(And no bond that can enslave)
Vaderland! ons sal die adel
(Thou hast borne us and we know thee)
Van jou naam met ere dra:
(May our deeds to all proclaim)
Waar en trou as Afrikaners
(Our enduring love and service)
Kinders van Suid-Afrika.
(To thy honour and thy name)

In die songloed van ons somer,
(In the golden warmth of summer)
In ons winternag se kou,
(In the chill of winter's air)
In die lente van ons liefde,
(In the surging life of springtime)
In die lanfer van ons rou.
(In the autumn of despair)
By die klink van huw'liks-klokkies,
(When the wedding bells are chiming)
By die kluitklap op die kis
(Or when those we love depart)
Streel jou stem ons nooit verniet nie,
(Thou dost know us for thy children)
Weet jy waar jou kinders is.
(And dost take us to thy heart)
Op jou roep se ons nooit nee nie,
(Loudly peals the answering chorus)
Se ons altyd, altyd ja:
(We are thine, and we shall stand)
Om te lewe, om te sterwe
(Be it life or death, to answer)
Ja ons kom, Suid-Afrika.
(Thy call, beloved land)

Op U Almag vas vertrouend,
(In thy power Almighty, trusting)
Het ons vadere gebou:
(Did our fathers build of old)
Skenk ook ons die krag, o Heer!
(Strengthen then, O Lord, their children)
Om te handhaaf en te hou
(To defend, to love, to hold)
Dat die erwe van ons vaad're
(That the heritage they gave us)
Vir ons kinders wrwe bly:
(For our children yet may be)
Knegte van die Allerhoogste,
(Bondsmen only to the Highest)
Teen die hele wereld vry.
(And before the whole world free)
Soos ons vadere vertrou het,
(As our fathers trusted humbly)
Leer ook ons vertrou o Heer
(Teach us, Lord, to trust Thee still)
Met ons land en met ons nasie
(Guard our land and guide our people)
Sal dit wel wees, God regeer.
(In Thy way to do Thy will)


Media Credits

Cornelius Jacob Langenhoven (1873-1932) wrote the poem in 1918.

Marthinus Lourens de Villiers (1885-1977) wrote the melody in 1921.

Adopted as South African National Anthem in 1936.

English version - adopted in 1952, revised 1959.

 

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