The parliament of Niger voted unanimously to replace its 1961 national anthem, 'La Nigérienne' (The Nigerien) with other words to defend its country's honor. The previous was criticized for invoking the subordination of its former colonial overlord France, according to Niger news agency ANP.
On 22 June, Niger's parliament unanimously adopted a bill to amend the Constitution so that it includes the text of a new anthem entitled 'For the honor of the fatherland', local media reported.The old anthem, 'La Nigérienne' has been in use since 1961 and was written by the Frenchman Robert Jacquet. It has since been criticized for its allusions to France and colonialism.
The words "Let's be proud and grateful for our new freedom!" have roused the indignation of a large part of Niger's inhabitants who think that the word "grateful" suggests a certain submissiveness to France, the local media says.
The previous anthem has "certain weaknesses, in particular paternalism", as highlighted in March by the country's council of ministers whereas the new text is more patriotic and is designed to protect Niger's identity.
"For a peaceful, free, strong and united Niger. Let's make Niger a symbol of dignity [...]. And make Niger the pride of Africa," says the text written by a group of local experts.
Amending the text has been a work in progress since 2019 at the instigation of Niger's former president Mahamadou Issoufou.
This change represents "a decisive moment in the history of our country which has just created an anthem corresponding to the dignity of its people," the minister of culture, Mohamed Hamid, said after the vote.
This change came shortly after Algeria reverted to using the full text of its national anthem, which refers to French colonialism. In May, the Algerian President widened the conditions for the performance of the national anthem allowing the so-called Kassaman anthem to be played in its entirety.
The full version contains the following verses about France. "O France! The time of reproof is over [...]. O France! The day of reckoning has come. So prepare to receive from us our answer," proclaims the anthem which was written in 1955 when Algeria was still part of France.