Friday, July 16, 2010

Waka Waka!

This year I didn’t travel to Africa; Africa came to me—and millions of other people, but hey.

I don’t love football. But this year the World Cup wasn’t about football. It was about uncountable hordes dressing up like idiots and smiling themselves silly (and blowing that darn vuvuzela thing until their lungs burst). I don’t know about you, but after the first or second game, I put the TV on mute and watched the 22 millionaires kick the ball around in beautiful silence.

During the last few days of the world football championship, I was tooling along the curvy Mosel river in Germany, listening to the radio and enjoying the air-conditioner. It was 100 degrees outside, and Germany had already lost to Spain in the semi-finals. So, as you can imagine, I wasn’t so interested in football.

But then the DJ broadcast an interview with Shakira. I love Shakira. Say what you want; I’ll just stick my fingers in my ears and yell, “I love Shakira” for thirty minutes. Then I’ll open one eye to make sure you’ve left. Then I’ll whisper, “I love you, Shakira. Waka waka.”

Waka Waka

When Shakira arrived in South Africa for the World Cup, the customs officers sang and danced “Waka Waka” with her. I love these customs officers, too. I love anyone who’ll sing and dance with me (no, I rarely believe I’m Shakira, but that’s another story). That’s what the World Cup is about. “Waka Waka,” by the way, was originally released in 1986 by Golden Sounds from Cameroon and was titled "Tsamina" or "Zangaléwa.”

Golden Sounds Version

“Wavin’ Flag (The Celebration Mix),” another official World Cup song is derived from a song about war. The original lyrics—quite seriously depressing—have been spiffed up for the World Cup version, a happy song that makes me smile. The original version makes me think. It also makes me want to dance with Africa. It still has many problems, but then we all do.

Wavin' Flag

Yesterday in the pedestrian zone in Munich, an African group were playing xylophones and singing. I got very emotional. Either I’m pregnant (which I find highly unlikely), or I’ve been touched by Africa’s visit. This time for Africa.

I must be off,