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28/12/2017 13:58 SAST | Updated 28/12/2017 13:58 SAST

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika Voted Best National Anthem On Earth

Critics called it 'an act of musical healing'.

South African players line up for the national anthem
PA Archive/PA Images
South African players line up for the national anthem

South Africa's "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" has been voted the world's best national anthem in a poll created by The Economist magazine.

The anthem, which pieces together lyrics in Afrikaans‚ English‚ Xhosa‚ Zulu and Sesotho, combining an eponymous poem originally written as a prayer by late poet Enoch Sontonga and parts of South Africa's former anthem, "Die Stem", was hailed by The Economist as "an act of musical healing".

Russia's "State Anthem of the Russian Federation" came second to "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika", with Uruguay's anthem claiming third place.

"Good anthems‚ such as Ukraine's and Israel's‚ contain a tinge of sadness‚ because nationalism is really about longing‚ suffering and sacrifice," the magazine wrote.

"The best‚ like South Africa's 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika'‚ create their own world entirely ... The lyrics combine Afrikaans‚ English‚ Xhosa‚ Zulu and Sesotho in an act of musical healing for the Rainbow Nation."

Listen to a rousing performance of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" performed by Miriam Makeba, Paul Simon, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo below.