God Bless Africa amin' ny teny Malagasy

With a nice tip from Paula Goes, Portuguese translator extraordinaire, I thought I would play around with a very cool video subtitling tool at overstream.net.

My video of choice was never in doubt. My sister told me during the break about a great version of the Nkosi Sikelel'iAfrica song with the original lyrics and the translation in Portuguese ( I guess I was in a lusophone moment) streaming through.
I thought it would make sense to add the Malagasy translation to that great performance (alas the artist's name somehow got lost).

Saying that there is room for improvement in the Malagasy lyrics is a major understatement. I tried to make the lyrics match the melody of the song so that someone might give it a try as karaoke ((you know, in a alcohol-induced moment of lapse ). I tried to sing it as well and it sort of worked (except at the end). Although I can see the comedic value in it, I will never post that audio clip on the web :D. For those you cannot play the video, I put the (butchered) translation of the lyrics at the end.* ( any suggestion for improvement is very welcome)

I still like the Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Manbazo and Paul Simon version better. Tomavana posted it on his blog and everytime I watch it, I am blown away by the power of the moment.
The artists were all so understated and yet so forceful.
And when Miriam and the gang finally belt out: "Sechaba sa hesooooo, sechaba sa Afrika ( Our nation, our Africa)" with a close-up on her fist, one cannot help but feel the force of the continent pierce you to your very core.
...Maybe it's better if you just watch the segment instead of me spoiling it with my sorry attempt at metaphors.

Have a great week-end,

*Malagasy lyrics:

Zanahary tahio i Afrika

Mba eto mihakatra ity tanistika ity

Renao ve izahay miara mihansto anao

Tahio izahay o

izahay zanakao o

Zanahary tahio i Afrika

Mba eto mihakatra ity tanistika ity

Tahionao ity faritany ity

mba tsy hisy intsony ny ady sy ny ratra

Tahionao O (tahionao iAfrika)

Tahionao ny fahafahana

Ny taninay

Ny taninay i Afrika

O ry fanahy ( i deranay)

O ry fanahy ( i deranay)


  1. As I already told in my post, Malagasy people should look better around [South Africa, Kenya or Rwanda] before choosing their way to 'struggle' model. Translating this song into Malagasy is a step on this way.

    May I just suggest to replace "Derao" [give glory, glorify] by "Tahionao" [bless] : "Zanahary tahio i Afrika !"
    I know it's slighly long ;)

  2. Hi Tomavana,

    100% agree with you on the struggle model.
    I will make the change in the lyrics asap. There was quite a few mistakes, it seems....