Tag Archives: World Cup

Multi-culti World Cup?

By Guest Contributor Hira Nabi

cup1 As the 2010 FIFA World Cup nears its’ end, we begin to look at the undercurrents of the tournament, held for the first time at the African continent, in South Africa, and the continued crossing-over of sports pop culture – spanning over languages, borders, time zones in search of markets and audiences. Take Coca-Cola’s World Cup “anthem,” K’naan’s “Wave Your Flag.”(Not to be confused with FIFA’s jingle, Shakira’s “Waka Waka.”)

There were six different versions of the song released and aired during the event, each featuring K’naan and the same cheering crowds, bright colours, contagious excitement, obligatory celebration of nationalism and of course, all of them celebrate “the” flag.  But the flag in each was different: K’naan collaborates with Nancy Ajram to produce the Arabic version, with David Bisbal to produce the Spanish version, with Jacky Cheung and Jane Zhang for the Chinese version, with Féfé for the French version, and, last but not least, teamed up with Skank on a Portuguese version for Brazil.

It gets better! There’s an Alvin & the Chipmunks version, even.

This “official” World Cup version, which seems to have been taken up by everyone, is a compromised, co-opted, Coca-cola-ized version of the original. The original lyrics speak more to struggle against poverty and violence, in pursuit of freedom. Were they too real for the World Cup?

Continue reading

Did Shakira’s World Cup Anthem Miss The Mark?

shakira1By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

You gotta love the World Cup. It’s a time when America’s forced to acknowledge not only that other countries exist, but that they might be better and more passionate at some things. The Olympics? Maybe once upon a time, but not when NBC frames the event as the feel-good story of (x) teenage athlete.

Anyway, this year’s selection for the official Cup theme song – a team-up between Shakira and South African group Freshlyground – has a rather curious history. The video below for “WAKA WAKA (This Time For Africa)” is SFW and is actually rather catchy.

While it might seem odd to see the Colombian Shakira fronting a song for a tournament held in South Africa, Guanabee notes that the song’s inspiration, “Zangalewa,” by a Cameroonian band of the same name, was actually popular in her country as well as several others in Africa. Guanabee also says, “The song, music historians say, is a criticism of black military officers who were in league with whites to oppress their own people. Or at least, some of it was. Some of it, as far was we can surmise, is gibberish.”

The “gibberish” thing is questionable, but the fact remains that some of the lyrics do use some uncomfortable imagery:

You’re a good soldier,
Choosing your battles
Pick yourself up,
And dust yourself off
And back in the saddle
You’re on the frontline
Everyone’s watching
You know it’s serious
We’re getting closer
This isn’t over

At a time when popular media likes to depict Africa as little more than a confluence of civil wars – O HAI 24 & FLASHFORWARD! – are those really the words FIFA wants welcoming viewers to South Africa’s moment in the spotlight?

A more fitting choice might actually have been the song Coca-Cola picked to serve as the jingle for its’ Cup ad campaign, K’naan’s “Waving Flag.” (Full disclosure: I posted this version because the “official” video has an unnecessary cameo by Spanish reality-show alum David Bisbal and several annoyingly cheery “Latino” dancers, not to mention subtle product placements.)