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7 African countries that have changed their national anthems

When a country changes its national anthem, the aim is to encourage and promote a sense of unity, independence, and national pride.

Many African countries have changed their national anthems.
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President Bola Tinubu on Monday, May 29, 2024, signed the National Anthem Bill 2024, which reintroduced the old national anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” and discarded the “Arise, O Compatriots,” the younger generation can relate with.

The development sparked criticism as many Nigerians including a former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili vowed to disregard the reinstated anthem and continue singing the “Arise, O Compatriots” anthem.

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While Nigerians are divided on the controversial subject, it is worth noting that countries can change their national anthems for different reasons. The change may be motivated by factors such as political, cultural, or social shifts within a country.

Generally, when a country changes its national anthem, the aim is to encourage and promote a sense of unity, independence, and national pride.

Here is a list of some African countries that have changed their national anthems

In 1997, South Africa changed its anthem to reflect the new democratic era post-apartheid.

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The anthem combined parts of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” and “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika,” representing unity and reconciliation among diverse cultures.

Following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the country’s previous anthem was considered divisive and was dropped.

In 2001, a new anthem, “Rwanda Nziza,” was adopted to promote national unity and reconciliation.

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In 1994, Zimbabwe abandoned its “Ishe Komborera Africa” anthem and adopted “Simudzai Mureza wedu WeZimbabwe”.

The new anthem was inspired by the country’s aspiration to have a distinct national identity different from the pan-Africanist anthem adopted by many other countries.

“Arise Congolese” was adopted as a national anthem in 1960 after the Democratic Republic of Congo gained independence from Belgium.

In 1971, the anthem was changed to “La Zaïroise” when the country changed its name to Zaire. 26 years later, the country reverted to its first anthem following the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko’s government in 1997.

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Ghana’s first national anthem, “God Bless Our Homeland” was adopted in 1957 during colonial administration. However, when the country became a Republic on July 1, 1960, it changed the anthem to “Lift High the Flag of Ghana.”

The four-stanza anthem was composed by Philip Gbeho, a Ghanaian musician and teacher.

Before gaining independence from South Africa, “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika” South Africa’s anthem was Namibia’s official national anthem.

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However, “Namibia, Land of the Brave” was adopted after gaining independence to reflect national sovereignty and pride.

In his bid to unite Arab countries in Africa and Asia, Muammar Gaddafi replaced the country’s anthem “Libya Libya Libya” with “Allahu Akbar” in 1969.

However, in October 2011, following the Libyan civil war and Gaddafi’s death, “Libya, Libya, Libya” was re-adopted as the country’s new national anthem by the National Transitional Council.

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