Die Kerklied as vergestalting van geloofservaring
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The impact, uniqueness and relevance of hymns, as well as how they articulate the deepest emotions of a person – despite differences in language, communities or spirituality – are fascinating. My experiences during the international Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives congress in 2011 in England, as well as a subsequent trip to Scandinavia, led to my further research on the role of hymnology in society. This article is concerned with the development of the hymn and the way in which people translated hymns throughout the ages in order to best identify with them. The concept of identity is discussed briefly in this regard, referring mainly to the theories of Jenkins and Sarup. The article also considers how national and global identities inform perspectives on the Afrikaans hymn “O God van Jakob”, initially brought to South Africa from Europe, and on Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, which was taken from South Africa to Finland and published in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland hymnal. The translatability of hymns is a phenomenon that involves a continuing process, characterized by a search for new sounds with which a person and groups of people can identify. I shall provide two vignettes, in order to create a context for the reader.