As a writer who is writing from the southern tip of Africa, in South Africa, and one who has lived in the era of transition from the tyranny of Apartheid into the rainbow nation a prominent song echoes in my heart and soul which became a national song which was in truth a prayer that embodied the hopes, tears and beliefs of the African people during those dark years.

This song was a hymn which was written by a man who was not able to pen down his life leaving many aspects of him a mystery accept for this hymn he was able to pass down into the future generations of this land. Enoch Mankayi Sontonga who was born in 1873 and died in April 1905 was a South African composer, teacher and choirmaster at the Methodist Mission School in Nancefield, near Johannesburg.

In a moment of divine inspiration Enoch wrote the first five verses of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” which means God bless Africa. In this composition Enoch prays in the second verse that God must lift high the Horn of Africa “Malu phakanyis’ uphondo lwayo” – a deeply profound statement that has carried the thread of destiny for the African continent and African people all around the world. It is no secret that Ethiopia has since Biblical times assimilated the image and representation of all of Africa.

This is evident in many sacred texts and literature of antiquity, and yet beyond that when you set your feet upon this mountain kingdom you are immediately overwhelmed by a land that audibly speaks with a recorded and visible history dating almost 3000 years ago. Central to Ethiopia are its two pillars the Solomonic Dynasty and the Oriental Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

The Solomonic Dynasty spans from a divine union between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba which bore Menelik I who God then gave the Ark of the Covenant to return with to Ethiopia and became the first Emperor of Ethiopia. With the ark the nation’s long relationship with Israel is solidified and thus Judaism. In the turn of the era, shortly after the Messiah finishes establishing his earthly work and ascends to his heavenly throne, Ethiopia became one of the first nations to warmly receive the message of Christianity through the works of the apostles and thus the Oriental Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was ultimately birthed in the first half of the 4th century.

This is one of the few churches in Africa which predates colonialism, and throughout the world, is the only church which was able to blend both Judaism and Christianity as branches of the same tree instead of separate religions. 

Therefore Ethiopia has and continues to be a towering figure not just over Africa but also the world over. This Godly chosen nation through its pillars is: 

1. Central to the preservation of sacred Judaeo-Christian sacred text 
  • Ethiopia is the only country outside of Israel whose language, literature and religion is so connected to Israel more than any other country in the world. 
  • The Ge'ez language is a recognized authoritative language of study for Biblical research and verification. 
  • Ge’ez is one of the principle languages of Ethiopia and it is part of the first 7 languages the Bible was translated in. 
2. Central to world church history 
  • Ethiopia has very early interaction with Judaeo culture examples 
  • (Numbers 12), Moses married a Cushite (Ethiopian) woman. 
  • Queen of Sheba book of Kings 10 
3. First century conversion of Ethiopians into Christianity 
  • Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:27) 
4. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church assigned Keeper of Biblical    sacred resources 
The church keeps not only the tradition of the Ark of the Covenant, but also the ark itself as Ethiopia was chosen by God to be its custodian which came through Menelik I, King Solomon’s son, when his father had begun to turn his heart away from the One True God and began to give his heart to foreign gods through idolatry. Marking Ethiopia as a nation which has a covenantal relationship with God after Israel. 
The church is the only church or institution that had the complete book of Enoch included in its canon since the fourth century. The rest of the world only got to find fragments of the book along with the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 20th century 
5. The inspiration of many political, revolutionary, and Biblical liberation movements for African people around the world 
Ethiopia therefore through the Solomonic Dynasty and the Orthodox Church has a long history of moulding the minds, beliefs, and aspirations of Africans in and outside the continent. Standing as a symbol of African unity, with its recorded history of African civilization and supreme dynasty it has shaped great leaders like Nelson Mandela, Marcus Gavi, Kwame Nkrumah, Martin Luther King Jr., the establishment of the Rastafarian movement which believe Emperor Haile Selassie to be part of the God/head, and the establishment of the African Union in 1963.
6. Own Calendar (it sets it's town) 
Ethiopia has since antiquity had its own calendar and continue to use it as its official, national calendar. Its timing has thus throughout history not been disturbed, contaminated or manipulated by any foreign nation, making this nation a nation that is in control of its own destiny and set to the timing that had been passed down to them through the ages. 
Ethiopians, as a people, have a very high degree of confidence, self worth, assuredness and self awareness almost like royalty. They don't need validation from an outsider, and are thus set apart in their disposition from other nations. 

Therefore, the prayer, divine inspiration and insights of the South African songwriter Enoch Sontonga was founded on spiritual, geographical, Biblical and historical truth about this great nation and church. Ethiopia as the Lifted Horn of Africa is truly an immemorial symbol of true African freedom, faith, and civilization.