When it comes to matters of nationalism, patriotism and unity; there is one recurring factor: the national anthem. National anthems are an embodiment of the people's history, suffering, victory, identity and hope.
A poll conducted by The Economist has voted South Africa's national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika as the best national anthem on planet Earth. South Africa's national anthem contains elements from Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sesotho.
Such a unique conflation of these languages has been described as "an act of musical healing." South Africa was a country deeply divided along racial lines under the system of Apartheid, but the national anthem has made considerable strides in healing these old wounds.
The anthem pieces together these languages, combining an eponymous poem originally written as a prayer by late poet Enoch Sontonga. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) used the song as a rallying cry in the fight against oppression, repression and inequality.
Russia's anthem came second while that of Uruguay was voted third. Others that followed were those of Brazil, Ukraine, Japan and Israel.
"Good anthems, such as Ukraine’s and Israel's, contain a tinge of sadness, because nationalism is really about longing, suffering and sacrifice. The best, like South Africa’s, Nkosi Sikelil’iAfrika, create their own world entirely."