The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is set to debate whether the national anthem should remain in its current form or whether the English and Afrikaans sections should be removed, according to draft resolutions to come under discussion at the federation’s national congress starting today.
This would require a constitutional amendment as the anthem is enshrined in it.
The national anthem has been hailed for its embrace of different languages and cultures — and also for its reconciliatory tone, with its inclusion of Die Stem, the national anthem under apartheid.
› Opportunities abound for SA’s companies in Mozambique
› Cost of Eskom project nearly triples
A resolution sponsored, or suggested, by the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) notes the Afrikaans and English sections were included as a "compromise position" through the negotiated settlement, and the original Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica had influenced African countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The draft resolutions would be discussed and decided upon during the congress.
The draft resolution reads that the county’s national anthem should revert to its "original form" and should "represent the suffering and the struggle that informs our future aspirations".
"... the combination with Die Stem is a direct opposite of what Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica entails or what it means to be African ... the original form of the anthem was and is still part of our struggle", the resolution reads. "The current national anthem was a compromise out of the deliberations of Codesa, during the political negotiations which led to the new constitution."
It proposes that Cosatu resolve that the "original" anthem be sung — as composed by Enoch Sontonga — which excludes the English and Afrikaans sections.
Article continues on page two...