News / Africa

Shakira World Cup Song Sparks Controversy

International Latin super star Shakira sings South Africa official World Cup song
International Latin super star Shakira sings South Africa official World Cup song

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Mariama Diallo

International Latin super star Shakira has set off a controversy in South Africa over the official World Cup song. Many have expressed disappointment that a non-South African artist was chosen to record the song, though others do not seem to mind.

The new song is called  "Waka Waka," meaning "This Time for Africa"  It was unveiled on radio stations a few days ago and immediately produced mixed feelings in South Africa, the host country for this year's World Cup. It is supposed to be the official song for the 2010 event, but according to talk radio host (Talk Radio 702) Jenny Crwys-Williams, many have called in to voice their disappointment.

"I love it that South Africans are just coming together as South Africans and saying 'Damn it, we've got our own people and it's an African World Cup, it's ours, it belongs to us' so why don't we use some of the magnificent talent that we've actually got? That's my reading of the calls we got," Crwys-Williams explained.

On the streets of Johannesburg, reactions have been mixed. Some strongly disapprove.

"It sucks. 'Waka Waka?' Shakira must not even come through and sing that song. I am serious. She must not. It sucks," said Lindi Munonde.

Nomaswazi Thomo agrees. "Yeah, it has to be South African," she said. "I mean, we've got so many talented South African singers who can actually pull it off. And really, I mean, how is Shakira going to sing the African part of it?"

Others say the World Cup is not just about South Africa, it's about South Africa hosting it and bringing it to the world.

Sechaba Sebusho states, "I don't have a problem with it being sung by a non-South African in the sense that it might be an African World Cup or a South African World Cup, but it is for everyone to enjoy."

Olebogeng Ntsime agrees, "For the fact that it has Freshlyground [band], they are people who originate from South Africa.  I think it's ok.  Whether it's Shakira or Beyonce, I think it's OK."

Heidi Botes says, "I think what's great about the fact that there are a lot of artists, it unites the world. The soccer World Cup is not just about South Africa, it's about South Africa hosting it and bringing the world."

The song is a collaboration between Shakira and the South African band Freshlyground. It is scheduled to be performed at the World Cup kickoff concert in Soweto on June 10.

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