South Africa World Cup: What's worse, the vuvuzelas or the whining about them?(Read article summary)
Calls to ban the long, plastic horns called vuvuzelas from the South Africa World Cup are increasing as players, coaches, fans, and announcers complain about how distracting they are.
Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Johannesburg, South Africa
How do I compare thee, oh vuvuzela? A swarm of bees, perhaps, or a runaway freight train tearing through the inside of one‚Äôs cranium.
Local South Africans call the arm‚Äôs length plastic trumpet part of their soccer tradition, saying it gives their players an advantage. Outsiders, including the world's best player, Argentina's Lionel Messi, and even a few South Africans, consider the vuvuzela a nuisance that should be banned from the South Africa World Cup. A stadium full of vuvuzelas drowns out the bands and songs of other visiting nations, they argue.
Personally, he dislikes vuvuzelas. But he‚Äôs happy to sell them.
‚ÄúI think they should be banned, because in Zimbabwe at football matches, we sing songs, we dance, and here, with the vuvuzelas playing, eh, you can‚Äôt hear anything,‚ÄĚ says Gift, who won‚Äôt give his full name. That said, he has already sold out today‚Äôs stock of vuvuzelas by noontime, and he doesn‚Äôt think World Cup organizers could get rid of vuvuzela even if they tried. ‚ÄúEveryone has them now, even the Europeans. So I don‚Äôt think they can ban them.‚ÄĚ
A weekend into the World Cup, and the calls to ban vuvuzelas are starting to get louder.
Players complain they have trouble communicating with each other. Doctors say the vuvuzela can damage one‚Äôs hearing. Fans from other countries who love nothing more than a rousing national anthem to give their boys a little spirit on the field say they are getting, well, blown away.
‚ÄúThe World Cup should be a celebration of difference,‚ÄĚ writes Mr. Bloomfield in today‚Äôs blog, also entitled Africa United. ‚ÄúA time when we get a glimpse of countries and cultures we know little about. And if Bafana fans stop blowing their vuvuzelas perhaps they‚Äôll be able to give us a few renditions of the incredibly moving ‚ÄėShosholoza‚Äô instead.‚ÄĚ
Simon Williamson, a local journalist and blogger, begs to differ.
‚ÄúDear Europeans, Cristiano Ronaldo and whingy white South Africans,‚ÄĚ he writes in his own blog, Kingsimon. ‚ÄúFor the last few days, I hear you have been complaining about the noise of the vuvuzelas at games. As we've been blowing them consistently since Thursday night we haven't been able to hear you whining until now.‚ÄĚ
He says more, but much of it can‚Äôt be printed in a family newspaper. Ag, shame.
‚ÄúWe've tried to get some order. We did ask them [not to play] vuvuzelas during national anthems, [and not to play] vuvuzelas when anyone is making an announcement or talking. I know it's difficult, but we try and manage as best we can," he said. "We've heard from the broadcasters and other individuals. It's something that we're evaluating on an ongoing basis."
South Africans certainly are fond of their vuvuzelas, but clearly anything that‚Äôs plastic and made in China is anything but deeply cultural. Yet, if the reaction on Twitter is a guide, vuvuzelas have become a symbol of national pride.
‚ÄúIf they ban the vuvuzela, Danny Jordaan would have sold out on Africa,‚ÄĚ writes another Twitter user, Tendai Joe.
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