World Cup soccer: Why S. Africa booed concert headlined by Shakira
FIFA failed to include a single South African act in a June 10 concert to kick off the World Cup soccer tournament this summer in South Africa. After a minor uproar, they added five new acts to a list topped by Shakira.
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But a mixture of national pride and economic fear have caused South African artists to make their voices heard, both on and off the stage.Skip to next paragraph
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To channel their outrage, musicians have turned to their local union. Last month, the 500-member Creative Workers Union announced an April 15 march on the capital buildings in Pretoria to protest the exclusion of South African artists from FIFA events. The union called off their march the day beforehand, however, after receiving assurances that more South African musicians would be included.
The union was not going to allow local artists to be “undermined by FIFA’s ruling oligarchy and their capitalist-inclined motives,” said union president Mabutho Sithole at a press conference. The union demanded that 80 percent of the talent at FIFA events be local.
South African musicians just felt they should have a bigger piece of the pie, says Mr. Dlanga, the columnist. He laughs and adds: “The truth is, we like complaining a lot. I think that is what is happening.”
Capitalizing on the crowds
Kojo Baffoe, a Ghanaian national and a poet based in Johannesburg, says that South African artists should realize that “this is how FIFA runs things.”
“On the official song, you’ve got Shakira featuring Freshlyground, and at the end of the day it is the World Cup and FIFA who decide what gets into the lineup,” he says.
Originally a Cameroonian tune, "Waka Waka" is popular elsewhere on the continent but was roundly panned when released to radio stations here last week. Mr. Baffoe says he would prefer if the official song was “an African ‘We are the World’ with a mixture of local and international talent.”
South African musicians who don’t make the final cut to perform at the World Cup, Baffoe says, should organize their own concerts and encourage some of those swelling masses of tourists to come.
“If South African artists take advantage of that attention, they’ll do well,” agrees Suede, an American writer, director, and producer based in Johannesburg.
“There’s a lot of talent here,” says Suede, who goes by one name. “But South African artists need to get up and do this on their own.”
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