Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa in Xhosa) was originally composed as a hymn by a Johannesburg teacher, Enoch Sontonga, in 1897. In 1927 seven additional Xhosa stanzas were added by the poet Samuel Mqhayi. The song became a pan-African liberation anthem and was later adopted as the national anthem in five African countries after independence. It was the official ANC anthem during the apartheid era.
In 1994, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and the previous national anthem, The Call of South Africa/ Die Stem were adopted as joint national anthems. In 1996, a shortened, combined version of the two anthems was adopted.