Zambia National Anthem

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Coat of arms of Zambia

"Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free" is the national anthem of Zambia. The tune is taken from the hymn Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa), which was composed by a South African, Enoch Sontonga, in 1897. The lyrics were composed after Zambian independence to specifically reflect Zambia, as opposed to Sontonga's lyrics which refer to Africa as a whole.


Enoch Sontonga, composer of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika started to become popular in South Africa in 1923 as a Christian hymn. Its popularity spread around Africa through churches and the tune became associated with African nationalism movements. Following the passing of the Zambia Independence Act 1964 in the Parliament of the United Kingdom enacting Zambia's independence from the United Kingdom, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was adopted as the national anthem of Zambia,[1] replacing God Save the Queen, the anthem of Northern Rhodesia. Shortly afterwards, it was decided that new words set to the tune of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika would be needed for Zambia's national anthem. A national competition was held for the new words. However, none of the entries were deemed good enough to be used in full for the anthem. As a result, six of the entries were merged to create "Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free" and the entrants selected were awarded prizes. The authors credited for the composition were G Ellis, E.S. Musonda, J.M.S. Lichilana, I Lowe, J Sajiwandani and R.J. Seal of Lusaka.[1]

In 1973, the National Assembly passed the National Anthem Act, which legally defined the English lyrics of "Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free" as the national anthem of Zambia. The Act also made it an offence to "insult or bring into contempt or ridicule" the anthem and granted the President of Zambia the rights to prescribe how the anthem is sung and to restrict its use.[2]

In 2005, Zambian women's groups petitioned for a number of the lyrics in "Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free" to be changed because they felt that they were too male orientated. In response, it was decreed that the current lyrics did include women in context and it was stated that "Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free" was "composed of historical lyrics that reflect the country's heritage."[3] In 2012, Professor Michelo Hansungule repeated the concerns that the anthem was too masculine. He also argued that because it had the same tune as the National Anthem of South Africa, it might have intellectual property implications and suggested that Zambia's sovereignty could be questioned.[4]


Bemba version

First Verse

Lumbanyeni Zambia, no kwanga,
Ne cilumba twange tuumfwane,
Mpalume sha bulwi bwa cine,
Twikatane bonse.

Second verse

Bonse tuli bana ba Africa,
Uwasenaminwa na Lesa,
Nomba bonse twendele pamo,
Twikatane bonse.

Third verse

Fwe lukuta lwa Zambia lonse,
Twikatane tubyo mutende,
Pamo nga lubambe mu mulu,
Lumbanyeni Zambia.
Twikatane bonse.

Chorus (Sung After Third Verse Only)

Lesa, Lesa, wesu,
Apale calo,
Zambia, Zambia, Zambia.
Fwe bantungwa
Mu luunga lwa calo.
Lumbanyeni Zambia.
Twikatane bonse.

Chinyanja/Chewa version

First Verse

Imani timtamande Zambia,
Dziko la cimwemwe ndi umodzi
Ife tinamenyera ufulu,
Tinapata ufuluwu:
Umodzi ndi mphamvu

Second Verse

Africa ndiye Mayi wathu
Dzanja la Mbuye lamdalitsa
Tiyeni tonse tigwirizane
Ndife abale m'dziko:
Umodzi ndi mphamvu

Third Verse

Dziko limodzi, mtundu umodzi
Ndi cilakolako cathutu
Ulemu ndi mtendere m'dziko
Monga nkwazi m'mwamba:
Umodzi ndi mphamvu

Chorus (Sung After Third Verse Only)

Timtamande Mlungu, Mlungu wathu,
Adalitse Zambia, Zambia Zambia
Omasuka pansi pa ndembela yathu
Zambia timtamande:
Umodzi ndi mphamvu.

Tonga version

First Verse

Atumutembaule Zambia,
mbotubelekela antoomwe,
Twakazunda akwaanguluka,
Toonse Tuswangane.

Second verse

Afrika mbabaama besu,
Cisi cakalelekw' aLeza,
Toonse tobantu tuswaangane,
Zambia Omubotu.

Third verse

Ciinga comwe ncotulilila,
Mbulemu aluumuno mucisi,
Mbuli Sikwaze Mbwauluka,
Zambia, omubotu,
Toonse Tuswangane.

Chorus (Sung After Third Verse Only)

Leza Leza Wesu
Cisi Cesu:
Zambia, Zambia, Zambia,
yuunga mucisi cesu,
Zambia Omubotu,
Toonse Tuswangane.

English version

First Verse

Stand and sing for Zambia, proud and free,
Land of work and joy in unity,
Victors in the struggle for our rights,
We've won freedom's fight.
All one, Strong and Free.

Second verse

Africa is our own motherland,
Fashion'd with and blessed by God's good hand,
Let us all her people join as one,
Brothers under the sun.
All one, Strong and Free.

Third verse

One land and one nation is our cry,
Dignity and peace 'neath Zambia's sky,
Like our noble eagle in its flight,
Zambia, praise to thee.
All one, Strong and Free.

Chorus (Sung After Third Verse Only)

Praise be to God,
Praise be, praise be, praise be,
Bless our great nation,
Zambia, Zambia, Zambia.
Free men we stand
Under the flag of our land.
Zambia, praise to thee!
All one, Strong and Free.

See also