SA national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika named best in the world

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International publication The Economist has named South Africa’s national anthem, Nkosi Sikelil’ iAfrika, the best national anthem in the world.

According to the publication, what makes a national anthem really good is a “rousing tune to quicken the pulse, some pathos to moisten the eyes and that inexplicable something to make it stand out from all the rest”.

God Save the Queen – and others – are slammed for having too many ‘dreary harmonies’ and having too many ‘platitudes about being victorious and glorious. The ‘award’ was decided by a straw poll taken by The Economist.

South Africa’s anthem is ‘compositionally unusual’ because it shifts (modulates) and ends in a different key. But, whoever said unusual was a bad thing?

Russia came out second, followed by Uruguay, Brazil, Ukraine, Japan, Israel, Nepal, Germany, USA, Wales and France.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika celebrated its 120th anniversary since it was first composed this year. Originally composed as a hymn, the song became a pan-African liberation anthem and was later adopted as the national anthem of five countries in Africa including Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia and Zimbabwe after independence. Zimbabwe and Namibia

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