Nama community calls for addition of the language to the national anthem

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Nama language activists are calling for the Nama language to be added to South Africa’s national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

Nama has been on the brink of extinction in South Africa for decades. However, there are efforts to revive it as Nama language activists are lobbying that the ancient indigenous language also forms part of the anthem, and they have already translated the anthem and sing it at cultural events.

Loretta Dawids who is Nama singer says she is filled with pride when she sings in the language.

“When I sing the national anthem in Nama, I feel so very proud – I feel appreciated, I feel like a VIP when I sing the anthem in Nama – I’m really proud,” she exclaims.

Another Nama singer, Abraham Katimba says it is important for the language to be incorporated into the anthem so that the language and those who speak it can be recognised.

Sir Steenkamp, a Nama language activist expresses the same sentiments, and has suggested that government works together with the Nama communities in order to correctly translate the language for inclusion into the anthem.

“The government can help in the sense that they roll out a programme to get in touch with Nama communities and then ensure that the Nama communities help to get the right words that can be incorporated into the anthem.”

Two schools currently offer Nama as an extra-curricular subject, while efforts are on the way to get it as part of the standard curriculum, and it is hoped that endeavours such as including the language in the national anthem may accelerate the process.