Friday, June 11, 2010

Waka Waka - “This Time for Africa"

So finally it was here – Waka Waka by Shakira, the Colombian singer, who sang Waka Waka to a jam packed audience at the Orlando Stadium. The audience roared and sang along. Which made Shakira say "Ngiyabonga Mzansi," ("thank you South Africa") in closing. The live broadcast had opened with a statement of African past and present, with veteran South African jazzman Hugh Masekela segueing from his classic "Grazing in the Grass" into the late Miriam Makeba's signature song, "Pata Pata" - this time featuring young Afro-soul multi-award winner, Lira on vocals. Beside Shakira, there were Alicia Keys, K'Naan and the Black Eyed Peas.

The dignitaries were in abundance besides FIFA president Sebb Blatter and South African President Jacob Zuma. The South African-flag waving crowd were delighted to find among them the country's Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who joked he was only there to give the crowd "time to rest." We would have loved to see Neslon Mandela, who was set to make a highly anticipated speech at the opening ceremony but due to death of his 13 year old great-granddaughter in a car accident, he regretted his attendance.

So the bell has been rung and now it is the players who are going to make the crowd cheer, dance, wave their countries’ flags and be part of the euphoria for the nest one month. I would be there in South Africa too (digitally watching matches on TV). Make the most of it – be happy to know that you were part of the ones who watched the Cup ever to be played in an African country in its history.

Excerpts and photo taken from the blog “South Africa, are you ready? “ by my friend SAJS