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African National Anthems: 'Beat the Drums, the Red Lion Has Roared'

Igor Cusack
Journal of African Cultural Studies
Vol. 17, No. 2 (Dec., 2005), pp. 235-251
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4141312
Page Count: 17
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African National Anthems: 'Beat the Drums, the Red Lion Has Roared'
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Abstract

This article explores the themes and ideologies associated with African national anthems. Anthems often reflect the Janus face of nationalism, that is, a looking to the future as well as the past, and they proclaim a number of dominant themes which fit into this dichotomy. Such themes include calls to awake, arise or work for the future progress of the nation, and praise for the already established, beloved land, its particularities, traditions and culture and thanks to God for having blessed the nation. As products of the late colonial period and the early days of independence the main themes in these anthems demonstrate strong links to anthems of the former colonial powers. In addressing and hailing the 'people', and being sung by 'us', the anthems culturally interpellate the subjects as members of the nation. However, most anthems are strongly gendered constructions clearly focussed on men, sons and brothers with only a few briefly acknowledging women as being part of the nation.

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