What Is The Vuvuzela?

Wednesday 23, June 2010


What Is The Vuvuzela?


The vuvuzela is creating some controversy at the 2010 World Cup. So what is the vuvuzela?


The definition for the vuvuzela (voo-voo-zeh-lah), sometimes called a “lepatata” (its Setswana name) or a stadium horn, provided in Wikipedia is a large, colourful plastic trumpet with the sound of a foghorn, approximately one metre in length, commonly blown by fans at football matches in South Africa. It is also used in other countries such as Mexico, Brazil, or Israel. 


What is its history? The website says the vuvuzela is “rooted in African history as people would blow on a kudu horn to call villagers to a meeting. Adding to the appeal is the African folklore that “a baboon is killed by a lot of noise”, so the last quarter of a game sees even more frantic blowing of vuvuzelas as supporters try to “kill off” their opponents”. 


The British press have been particularly critical of the vuvuzela… with headlines and stories like the following that appeared in the Guardian newspaper:

“Is the vuvuzela going to ruin your World Cup? 

They may be big in South Africa, but one country’s plastic horn is another’s potentially tournament-ruining annoyance. The vuvuzela was irritating enough in a half-full stadium for England’s warm-up. It can only get worse. Is it too much for you to stand?” 


On the other hand many non-English speaking countries heartily endorse the vuvuzela as an instrument to show fan support. I think its acceptance is cultural. Many fans from Latin America are blowing the vuvuzela until they are totally exhausted. Why does the English press think it can tell another country how to watch a football match? Or for that matter other cultures. That kind of attitude is arrogant. Viva la vuvuzela. 


Whatever football fans feelings are about the vuvuzela, there is no doubt it will forever make its mark in the history of the World Cup. 


So come make some noise on Spacelocker and give your Spacelocker friend a vuvuzela gift.



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