Vuvuzela: Pride of South Africa or Bane of World Cup?

What fans and critics think of the noise-making horn

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As the hour draws near to the start of the World Cup, South Africa faces one concern that could possibly be greater than the journalist robberies: What to do with the vuvuzela? Beloved in South Africa, the noise-making horn, which sounds a bit like the drone of wasps, has been an issue of contention among international teams since last year's Confederations Cup. Some players and coaches blamed mistakes on the fact that they couldn't communicate over the noise of a thousand vuvuzelas blowing at once, and called for a ban of the instrument. While FIFA has refused, a heated debate has broken out over the horn's place in the crowd.

In Defense of the Vuvuzela
  • Part of the Culture, says Dana Hughes at ABC News. Reporting on the history of the horn she says, "Apparently, the vuvuzela is too entrenched in South African culture to outlaw." In regards to how tourists will take to it, however, she notes, "It won't sound like world-class jazz, but, love it or hate it, it will add a distinctively African soundtrack to the global game."
  • Call to Arms, say David Smith and Owen Gibson at the Guardian. Noting the tension between classes in South Africa, they say that the horn unifies both rich and poor as one culture. They say, "Among rich and poor, black and white, there is a common euphoria and common sound: the ubiquitous vuvuzela."
  • Gives a Home Team Advantage, says soccer blog, The Soccer Room. Also taking into account the horn's history, it says the vuvuzela "might yet be the secret weapon that helps them overcome one of the lowest ratings ever for a World Cup host nation."

Against It
  • Make It Stop, says Dan Levy at the Sporting Blog. Commenting on the effects of its noise, he says, "Whoever thought the end of the world might come from a long plastic horn?"
  • Ruins the Atmosphere, says Bruce Jenkins at the San Francisco Chronicle. "Given a golden opportunity to ban vuvuzelas, those pathetic and annoying air-horns being passed off as musical instruments, FIFA declared them "part of South Africa's soccer culture" and has refused to ban them for the event, which begins Friday. Thousands of miles away, we will all be suffering over such blatant disregard for common sense."
  • Deafening, notes Reuters, twice. Two weeks ago, Barry Moody reported on the potential of the instrument to cause hearing damage, saying that "South African scientists have warned fans to take ear plugs to World Cup matches to avoid damaging their hearing." Yesterday, Zoran Milosaveljevic reported on Reuters soccer blog that during an interview with serbia's left back Aleksandar Kolarov, "Reporters in the press room could barely hear what Kolarov said" due to a few fans walking by, blowing the horns.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.