In today’s response, I’d like you to reflect on some of the apparent contradictions of the South African national anthem, “Nkosi Sikelel ‘iAfrika.” How can a song written in the style of European missionary hymns have become such a powerful symbol of the struggle for liberation? Why do you think its composer, Enoch Sontonga, would have used European four-part harmony in his song, instead of a more distinctively South African musical style? And why was such an “unthreatening prayer,” in the words of historian Duma Ka Ndlovu, then banned by the Apartheid regime?
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