African National Congress (ANC) MP Vuyisile Malomane on Thursday strongly defended the Afrikaans part of the national anthem.
She was addressing Parliament ahead of next week’s Heritage Day holiday.
Her spirited defence earned her a rare standing ovation from Democratic Alliance (DA) MPs.
However, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs constantly interjected her.
Malomane said Heritage Day was made a national holiday because of South Africa’s rich heritage.
She criticised EFF’s refusal to sing the Afrikaans verses in Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.
When the national anthem was introduced, it has the Afrikaans version. We need to sing it, as it unites us. Never again can we allow narrow nationalism to creep in and consume our nation.ANC MP Vuyisile Malomane
This drew a sustained standing ovation from DA benches.
Malomane’s defence of Afrikaans is similar to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s comments on the same matter in Parliament in August.
Ramaphosa said the inclusion of the Afrikaans part was among “compromises” made during the transition to democracy.
He emphasised that South Africa is “on a journey” towards nation-building.
The issue of Die Stem, the part of our national anthem is what we arrived at, as a symbol of enabling us to build the nation that we are.
And as I said, as we proceed on this basis there are compromises, accommodations that need to be made.President Cyril Ramaphosa
The president however cautioned that unity should not mean forgetting past injustices or allowing some people to “hanker for the past.”