AFRICAN MUSIC #5: Zangalewa, Zamina or Waka Waka?


Who would have thought that the song featured by Shakira con the 2010 World in South Africa was part of the repertoire to soldiers and boy scouts in Cameron? The rhythm is for sure catchy and it served as a song march for many years. Zangalewa is a 1986 Camerronian song that sometimes is called Zamina. So let´s take a look at what happened in the music world?

The Golden Sounds of Cameroon composed this piece in the mid 80´s. The song features Zolani Mahola of the South African group Freshlyground, singing in one of the official languages of that country, Xhosa.

There was a speculation that a dominican Wilfrido Vargas singer wanted to sue Shakira for the chorus of Waka Waka, which was no as well his original work. But much important than this, is that the original author of the work knew about the infringement of the copyright at the moment of the World Cup back in mid 2010. Did the major label play nasty against a minor artist? I wouldn´t discard the work of Shakira or even the producers, which truly brought to life a great remake of the song; However that song could have meant a lot to the people in Cameron. Is it fair to use someone else’s work if this has a strong and deep meaning for them? So it’s not only about copyright. Similar cases such as Lambada used by Jennifer Lopez in her release “On the floor” had a fair use because there was no copyright infringement. Whether the brazilians liked the sudden mainstream of this catchy phrase or not is another topic of discussion.

In July 15, 2010, an article in Africa was released discussing why an african artist was not chosen to perform in the World Cup of the same continent. Later on, many africans, the Golden Sounds band accused Shakira of copyright infringement and demanded compensantion for the use of the music. Actually, another artist Kéké Kassiry from Cote D’Ivoire, which claimed to have registered the song in France,  said that the song was originally his.

There’s not enough information on the case whether it has been solved or not but what do you think readers? What can be changed in the music industry to make it fair for everyone? Businessmen with power in the music industry can sometimes do whatever they want, but where is this going take us?

2 thoughts on “AFRICAN MUSIC #5: Zangalewa, Zamina or Waka Waka?

  1. I think they should have had an African artist singing the theme song for the World Cup. It was an opportunity for African artists to be heard on an international level and maybe interest some investors in the music scene.

    • I also think we should give the opportunity to new artists when an huge event is dragging the whole world´s attention to one country or continent. After all, without african influence, we wouldn´t have blues, rock, jazz, rumba, samba, and of course their own amazing rhythms!

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