If you haven’t already heard the official World Cup anthem, then you will do soon. There’s a slight hiccup with Shakira’s “Waka Waka” however – it’s a copy of a 1980s classic from a group of Cameroonian presidential guards.
Since the Colombian popstar’s song was selected by FIFA as the official anthem for the 2010 World Cup, African radio stations haven’t stopped playing it. In Cameroon however, listeners soon realised that the tune was rather familiar. Even more so for the members of “Zangaleza”, a pop group of presidential guards who came up with the song in the 1980s…
Shakira's Waka Waka:
The chorus is identical to that of the original - listen at 52" seconds. Video posted on YouTube by "edkalos".
The original song by Zangalewa:
Posted on YouTube by "SupraSensibilis".
“Zangalewa was a group of presidential guards who wrote the song for the troops”
Mohamadou Houmfa is a freelance journalist from Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Zangaleza say that they've come to an agreement with Shakira and will probably be compensated. But I think it's a shame that the international media don't point out where the song actually comes from.
The Cameroonians are actually very proud of the remake. In cybercafés you see both versions of the song playing on repeat. Young people don't know the original as it came out in 1986. [Zangalewa released four albums - the one that included the song in question was awarded ‘record of the year' in Cameroon]. But the older generations know the clip off by heart, especially the bit with the presidential guards' parade. The song was released just after television arrived in the country so we remember it well.
Zangalewa [formed in 1984] was a group of presidential guards who wrote the song for the troops. They even sung part of the song in Beti, a dialect from the south.
This could prove to serve as an opportunity for the group who are talking about reforming now. It's also something positive for the Cameroonian players, who will be proud to think that the song comes from their country."