With just a few weeks to the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, excitement is really reaching dizzying heights.
But why is it special for people here?
"Because it's in Africa and again [it's] the biggest football competiton. Once in a lifetime," says Ekow Arthur, a broadcaster at NET 2 Television in Ghana's capital.
Yes, it is the biggest. Yes, it's in Africa. Our turf, our game. But for many millions around the country and the world, it is simply...magical. And Ekow, with all the others, have every right to be antsy in anticipation.
Before the start of every World Cup or major tournaments, it is customary for Ghanaians to go a bit jiggy. There are so many different World Cup songs in town in the build up to the tournament. You can get in English, pidgin or in any of the country's 50 ethnic languages you can think of.
But, surely, the most popular of them all is by K'naan, called Wavin' Flag (The Celebration Mix). There are several versions but this is the one that has been chosen as Coca-Cola's promotional anthem for the mundial. (Videos and commentary after the jump!)
The part that gives me the heebie-jeebies comes right at the start:
Give me freedom, give me fire, give me reason, take me higher
See the champions, take the field now, unify us, make us feel proud
In the streets our head are liftin’, as we lose our inhibition,
Celebration it surrounds us, every nation, all around us
It encapsulates what the World Cup is about. Simple.
Yet, I know for that for many, it is the chorus that increases their blood pressure by more than a notch:
When I get older I will be stronger
They’ll call me freedom
Just like a wavin’ flag
And then it goes back...
If you still don't know what the hype is about (have you been locked up in your room this past few weeks?), get swept away now.
It would be fair to say this song has even eclipsed the official FIFA sanctioned song by Colombian musician Shakira feat. Freshlyground. It's called Waka Waka (This Time For Africa).
Her song is a cover of the 1980s song, Zangaléwa, which was done by the Cameroonian group called Zangalewa (earlier known as Golden Sounds). Shakira's song has some huge fans, but the feel all over Africa for the song has been mostly conservative and cool.