The football loving world – players, trainers, and fans alike – are following closely with interest the opening ceremony on June 11, next year and the Official FIFA 2010 World Cup song performance by a 31 year old dark, slim artist from a country notorious for violence and suicide bombers. That country is Somalia, and K’naan is the artist whose song “waving flag” was chosen to be the FIFA World Cup song.

What a world of contrast between 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 9th Olympiad in 1936 Berlin, Germany. The Nazis used that event to promote the myth of “Aryan Superiority.” “Non-Aryans” – Jewish and Gypsy athletes and performers were systematically excluded from the opening ceremony. Different also than the South Africa of John Vorster who in his opinion even “the words of a black man are black”. What color is K’naan’s song: “When I get older, I will be stronger. They call me freedom, just like a waving Flag.” It is a world awakened!

In recent months K’naan has come in for frequent mention in the press and at least one reporter in Johannesburg indeed hastened to label him as a “Muslim Rapper who supports Pirates”. David Smith of the Guardian ignored K’naan’s mastery performance and his campaign against poverty and Aid for Africa. In a recent article he accused K’naan of being honesty and thoughtful artist who feels he has no right to stand aloof from the urgent problems of dumping Toxic Waste and looting of fish in the ocean of his ancestral land. Perhaps it is this that imparts to his analysis of present-day western reality an insight and accuracy many a white journalist based in South Africa might envy. It is world awakened!

Highly symptomatic was the statement K’naan made to a CBC reporter about the blight of the East African fisherman. “The western powerful nations watched as all countries great and small swarmed in the Somali waters to loot fish and dump dangerous chemical waste.”

K’naan (in Somali means: one who is always on the move) was born in Mogadishu, Somalia; a metropolitan city by the Indian Ocean. There was nothing remarkable about his childhood. A relatively well-to-do but not too prosperous family of poets and singers; and from age seven a lover of American rap music.

Unremarkable too perhaps was his romantic dream culled from books of famous and great men from Genghis Khan to Michael Jackson. What a teenage with a fondness for great men has not cherished similar dreams? An avid reader to this day he keeps a private library of these great men and empire builders.

K’naan did not finish high school. His education was interrupted by civil war in his country. He immigrated to Canada with his mother and siblings in the early 1990’s. A new country, a new culture and a new language it became very hard for the teenaged boy to finish his schooling – he dropped it. But when peers in his neighbourhood were falling victims to dope, crime and violence he looked straight to his dreams. He found it ultimately in the street corners of Toronto’s west-end. His inherent will to succeed proved no less durable than his talent. The rest is history!

K’naan is concerned with the problems of hunger and the environment. He does what he can to help the practical solution of these problems. He is angered by the looting of fish and dumping of toxic waste in his lovely Indian Ocean, and so he regularly speaks out against it. He sharply criticizes powerful nations of their indifference to those problems. K’naan is a great artist and no true artist can live without his opinion. He doesn’t defend piracy, neither did he support it. He understands the cause of piracy in East Africa and the effect of polluting the oceans.

K’naan today is an artist at the peak of professional mastery and a man deeply concerned with the most burning issue of his country, of his people. It is this that gives such power to his art. He is a man always on the move.

Omar M Mohamed


  1. Kaynaan have every right to speak in every opportunity he gets about the problems of his native homeland, especially the illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste by the western world. Use your platform Kaynaan and speak out loud and clear to get the world attention!

  2. We are very proud of K'naan. Plus, he has an amazing personlity that celebrities like him don't share.

    K'naan is in Hargeisa and i Personally met with him. I wrote an article about our meeting and i will soon publish it.

    Adnan A. Hassan

  3. I support Somalia. I am not a Somali, but feel like one of you. However, I would like to know whether we still can get into Somalia to get some proof of illigal fishing and toxic dumping for a TV documentary, as many people deny these acts

  4. Margaret welcome to this forgotten part of the world. I know you are not a Somali, but you are a good concern human being and we admire you for that.

    After the previous regime have collapsed and the chaos and lawless started. Somaliland broke away the union with Somalia and Somalia/Somaliland become a dumping ground for western toxic waste and scrupulous countries started looting our national recourses such as illegal fishing in our territorial waters, taking anything, and everything they their put hands on because nobody is minding the borders and territorial waters.

  5. I am not Somalia, which is the southern part. I am a Somalilander from the North, but a concern citizen about what is going in this part of the world. I don't think that it is possible for you to come to Somalia or get a proof. Because the country is in a complete chaos. The current government is boxed into a corner and are limited to the capital city of Mogadisho. The terrorists/Islamists took control of all the surrounding areas. They are very hostile to Westerns and anybody who is not with them. There are also the pirates who snatch any westerns for a ransom. So,I wouldn't advise you to go, but you can research and follow any leads from your end and probably write about, to get the world's attention and expose those countries that are taking advantage of a bad situation. Good luck, Margaret!

  6. I am not a Somali, but feel like one due to all unjustices committed there. I would like to know whether it is possible to get into Somalia to get proofs of illigal dumping and illigal fishing for a TV film to show it to the world what is happening there?

    • Thanks Margaret for your support and interest to find the facts about the illegal dumping and fishing.
      Yes, it is possible to visit Somalia for documenting such activities, but you need some connections.

    • The toxic dumping on Somalia's waters is real and anyone who does deep investigation can discover it, Somali warlords from Mogadishu signed an agreement with Italian mafia, this is why Italy is still sensitive and attached to the southern part of Somalia in particular Mogadishu.

      They are up to no good as usual. The people of Southern Somalia and southern Italy are both mafia.

  7. If Mr. Kanaan speaks like he does, many people around the world would know what happening there. He also need to speak more often and uses his own home media like Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It was Canada who first given him the chance to be known.

    He should continued to speak against illegal activities happened his backhome but it would be just awarness rather than action. Fishing and all these other illegal activities will stay that way until people who own the land get strong government that protect their nation.

    So far it's only music world that know Kanaan very well but that may also chance during the world bootball in S.Africa.
    Kanaan need to speak at that time when the world is watching but he may not allowed and sport fans wouldn't like it. But this time its Africa and he want be critize too much.