Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Official Theme song of the World Cup: This Time for Africa

I adore Shakira. I know she's extremely smart, speaks many languages. I love her music and dancing. But the official theme song of the World Cup - it's just all wrong.

It's a cover of a song from a group called Zangaléwa, from Cameroon. I understand that all Africans must be very excited that the World Cup is being held on the continent for the very first time. But I imagine South Africans are especially proud. So, why not choose an artist from South Africa? Or any artist from Africa? If not an African artist, why not write a song that at least gives a nod to the host country?

I'm not sure if the original song has any special meaning to South Africans. It may. But, being from an entirely separate country, I doubt it stirs up any national pride.

In Shakira's version, you can hear her sing "zamina mina zangalewa waka waka." These words are Fang, a Cameroonian language. South Africa has 11 official languages. Couldn't she have used any of them other than English? Not even a "Sawabona"?

I feel like by picking just any song that sounded African, without respect for the country and language, the idea that Africa is a country, not a continent with 54 unique countries, is cemented further into popular thought.

I understand Shakira is an international star, who transcends continents. So choosing her as the artist isn't so strange an idea. It's just that Africa, South Africa especially, has so much musical talent, why not choose someone from the continent for this momentous occasion? Like Mafikizulu or Malaika?

Already there is a version in Spanish. She'd better make a French and Portuguese version too. Really Shakira, I expected more from you.

* I stand corrected on least one issue. Apparently, this is a collaboration between Shakira and a South African group called Freshly Ground.

The original Zangaléwa, with the original lyrics in Fang (with English translation):

Zamina mina hé hé (come come)
Waka waka éé é (Do it, do it)
Zamina mina zaaangaléwa (come come, who dispatched you?)
Ana wam a a (it/he is mine, yes)

yango é é (wait)
yango éé é (wait)
Zamina mina zaaangaléwa (come come, who dispatched you?)
Ana wam a a (it/he is mine, yes)

I took this translation from Museke, from a post where at least one African expresses his satisfaction with the song. Maybe I'm the one who is all wrong, any thoughts?


Lindsay said...

I kind of agree with your thoughts. That being said, I find the song super catchy and I was dancing along to it. Plus the video made me tear up.

Carly said...

Article I just saw today:,238407