In 1985, the Golden Sounds, a group made of Cameroon’s security men, recorded a catchy song called “Zangawela.” The song Zangawela became an international hit leading Golden Sounds to rename themselves as Zangawela.
It’s believed that the song was made in honor of African soldiers who fought to liberate Europe from being colonized by the German tribe in 1945. The song is also directed towards African soldiers who used to oppress their own people to protect colonial interests.
In 2010 Shakira made a rendition of the song without taking any permission from the original owners.
In an interview, Shakira was asked by her label about the song and this is what she had to say:
“I walked from the barn to the house and on that walk, boom! It came to me,” Shakira said with a laugh, explaining that she immediately recorded it using an acoustic guitar. “That’s how I realized that the song was strong when a song sounds good just with a plain guitar and vocals, you know that there’s something there.”
However, both the beats, melody and chorus in Shakira’s version is exactly the same as the original version ‘Zangawela.’
After the song’s release, the world gave Shakira a lot of accolades but nothing to the original creators. It raised an issue of plagiarism and copyright as they should have been given full credit and compensation.
According to the Women and Africa blog, in May 2010, after intense pressure from many Africans, Shakira’s team and members of the group Zangawela reached an agreement outside of the courtroom.
WAKA WAKA was a household name in Africa throughout the ’80s and the ’90s.