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Two Versions of K'naan's "Wavin' Flag"

K'naan rewrote the lyrics of his anthemic single for Coca-Cola to reflect the brand's happy image.

Two Versions of K'naan's "Wavin' Flag"
Photograph by Nabil
Photograph by Nabil

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
Hands are lifting.
As we lose our

It surrounds us.
Every nation
All around us.

Staying forever young singing
Songs underneath the sun
Let's rejoice in the beautiful game.
Then together celebrate the day.
We all say...

When I get older
I will be stronger
They'll call me freedom
Just like a wavin' flag
So wave your flag
And wave your flag
And wave your flag

Born to a throne, stronger than Rome
But violent prone, poor people zone,
But it's my home, all I have known,
Where I got grown, streets we would roam,
Out of the darkness, I came the farthest
Among the hardest survival,
Learn from these streets, it can be bleak,
Accept no defeat, surrender retreat,
So we struggling, fighting to eat and,
We wondering, when we'll be free,
So we patiently wait, for that fateful day,
It's not far away, but for now we say:

When I get older, I will be stronger,
They'll call me freedom, just like a wavin' flag,
And then it goes back,
and then it goes back,
And then it goes back.

So many wars, settling scores,
Bringing us promises, leaving us poor,
I heard them say, love is the way,
Love is the answer, that's what they say,


A version of this article appeared in the November 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.