Football World Cup song has some crying foul

Waka Waka: Time for Africa is FIFA
2010’s Official World Cup song.

Traditionally, the official song
has been taken up during the competition and promptly forgotten once the
month-long football fest is over.

This may change.

Forget, for a moment, the on-pitch
controversy that is bound to add extra spice to the highly anticipated matches,
this year’s catchy Afro-pop song and its Latina star singer have already
created a barrage of controversy ahead of the 10 June kick-off concert where it
was staged.

Waka Waka, co-written and performed
by Colombian songstress Shakira, has had several World Cup watchers in a
tailspin. The choice of singer had many wondering why one of South Africa’s
many world class performers was not given the honour.

Sure, local band Freshlyground lent
their harmonious backup vocals to the song but it would appear that to some
that insult was added to injury by the song’s opening lyrics, You’re a good
soldier that upset those keen to put distance between civil strife in the
war-torn continent and the global soccer love-in.

Conspiracy theorists also point to
the fact that the World Cup’s official anthem Sign of a Victory was sung by yet
another foreign import, R. Kelly, albeit accompanied by the heavenly voices of
the Soweto Spiritual Singers.

FIFA took heed of the cries of foul
and with days to go bumped up the numbers of African and South African
performers after allegations that they were being sidelined. Were a handful of
South African acts, including Hugh Masekela, the Mzansi Youth Choir, Soweto Gospel
Choir enough in a three-hour concert? And, if not, how many would have been
appropriate?

Others wondered at the general
preponderance of US talent in the opening concert’s line-up. 

Joining Shakira, as part of the
hyped up opening show, at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium, were a host of American
performers including the Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys and John Legend. Their
ranks were supplemented by a brace of pan-African talent including
Canadian-Somalian rapper K’Naan, Angelique Kidio from Benin and Touareg dessert
blues band Tinariwen.

Whether or not the multi-Grammy
winning American performers upstaged the African performers was debatable.
Wasn’t the pre-show furore a storm in a teacup? The only performances, which
diehard football fans were waiting to watch, are the 90 minute shows that will
are being put on by proponents of the beautiful game.

Maybe the international line-up, a
departure from FIFA’s former low-key concerts featuring mainly local talent,
has had its day in favour of the more inclusive line-up representative of the
multi-cultural face of the new South Africa.

The kick-off concert attracted
30,000 fans eager to see their international idols perform at such a
history-making moment.

The success of the World Cup 2010,
however, won’t be dictated by the notes sung at the opening concert but by the
play on the pitches across South Africa.

Waka Waka

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

The pressure is on

You feel it

But you’ve got it all

Believe it

When you fall get up

Oh oh…

And if you fall get up

Oh oh…

Tsamina mina

Zangalewa

Cuz this is Africa

Tsamina mina eh eh

Waka Waka eh eh

Tsamina mina zangalewa

Anawa aa

This time for Africa

Listen to your god