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South Africans Defend the Noisy Vuvuzela

  • AP, Friday, June 19, 2009 2:45 PM
As the rest of the world complains that the relentless noise created by vuvuzela trumpets during Confederations Cup games pains its ears, South African fans defend their noisemakers.

South Africans take pride in instrument as a unique part of their culture. "This is our voice. We sing through it," said Chris Massah Malawai, a 23-year-old company owner who was cheering, and blaring, for Bafana Bafana as they beat New Zealand on Wednesday. "It makes me feel the game." Beville Bachmann, who would say that, wouldn't he? He co-owns the trademark on the plastic horns and said its origins may go back to the use of kudu antelope horns. "We think plastic is better," he said. "We make no excuses about the noise. We are quite proud of it."

The official vuvuzela is a plastic horn in colorful colors that is 24 inches long and weighs no more than four ounces. The name roughly translates from Zulu to "making a lot of noise." Sales have gone in the hundreds of thousands and are expected to reach record levels with the hype around the World Cup. And although many fans and players have complained about the noise, which conjures a massive beehive or elephants blowing their trunks, FIFA has so far defended it. "When we go to South Africa, we go to Africa," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said. "It is noisy. It is something else than in the rest of world." FIFA has said that it will discuss the instrument with the local World Cup organizing committee, but not before the end of the Confederations Cup on June 28.

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