AU Anthem Stirs Mogae

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By Petronella Sibeene GOBABIS The African Union anthem is a song that stirs emotions in many a citizen of a state that belongs to the continental body. It can be an uplifting experience to be at a public event and join in the singing of this proud anthem. Recently, President of Botswana Festus Mogae who was in the country for a three-day State visit congratulated the Namibian Government and its people for being in the forefront of singing the AU anthem after the Namibian national anthem. He stated, “I would like to congratulate you Mr President and all Namibians for being able to sing the AU anthem.” In Botswana, just like many other member states, the national anthem has not been mastered to date. “Now when we return, we will encourage the people of Botswana to sing like Namibia is doing because it is important that people memorize the lyrics to the organization’s important song,” he added. Some people do not know the words contained in the song and rather fake it through lip-synching and mumbling during the opening of official events. Though the fact remains that they do not know the words, knowing the first verse of the anthem is plenty to get one by. However, true purists would want to know all the verses. The AU anthem has four stanzas making up 15 lines including the chorus. The song is composed in a way that the first stanza or a refrain sung during the official ceremonies does not exceed one minute each. Mogae also announced that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) anthem would be launched soon. Though he did not go in detail, the Botswana President stated, “We had meetings recently on the SADC anthem and soon we will sing it.” The SADC anthem, which can be sung in one minute six seconds, was adopted in August 2004. The melody was approved at a summit in Mauritius and member states are expected to play it at all major and official events. The anthem has nine lines and its lyrics tell of the region’s certainty, better future, universal integration, unity and harmony and the realization of its people’s hopes as well as the banner of solidarity. Mogae was speaking during the joint commissioning of the Omaere/Ghanzi substation in the Gobabis area.