World Cup officials consider a ban on a popular noisemaker, but fans worry it would mean an end to a beloved South African tradition.
“Mexico has its wave, Brazil has its samba bands and South Africa has … a bright, plastic horn. Charming cultural idiosyncrasy or trumpet from hell?”(Telegraph)
They’re called vuvuzelas, from the Zulu word meaning “to make noise.” And for many players and broadcasters at the World Cup, that’s the problem. World Cup officials are considering a ban on the South African tradition after receiving complaints the horns are simply too noisy.
We’re analyzing coverage from ESPN, CTV, Al Jazeera, euronews, Allafrica and the Telegraph.
Soccer stars like Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and France’s Patrice Evra are calling the horns a major distraction on the field. Numerous YouTube videos by fans label them annoying. And on ESPN, commentators Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic complain about the constant noise: “One thing that I found — I don’t know if I’m the only person — that I found excruciating was this constant droning that was going on. They’re blowing these trunpet-looking horns … and it never ends.”
On Canada’s CTV, reporter Lisa LaFlamme praises bans on the vuvuzelas already in place: “They have banned them in the last four days, they’ve been banned from shopping malls. I was in shopping malls when they weren’t banned, and trust me, it’s a good thing they were banned in the shopping malls. They’ve been banned during the playing of the National Anthem inside the stadiums.”
The South African coach says the horns provide moral support for his team, equivalent to a 12th man on the team, according to Al Jazeera. African fans oneuronews and Al Jazeera agree the vuvuzelas are essential to the game: “They want to ban them… why? This is an African World Cup and it belongs to us. We must shout the vuvuzela, why not? You must blow and blow and blow till the end of the World Cup.”
“The vuvuzela symbolizes the difference between South Africans and other countries. It shows us that we are different, we are unique. “
The noise complaints of others are valid, though, according to an official for hearing aid company, Phonak. The company recently conducted tests on the vuvuzelas and discovered damaging effects: “… noise levels were between 113 and 131 decibels … extended exposure at just 85 decibels puts us at a risk of permanent noise-induced hearing loss. When subjected to 100 decibels or more, hearing damage can occur in just 15 minutes.” (Allafrica)
FIFA’s Rich Mkhondo says the vuvuzela tradition is important to South Africa and an outright ban is unlikely, despite the noise levels: “The history of the vuvuzela is ingrained in the history of South Africa, and if you go back in history you will find they emanate from the horn, which was used by our forefathers in committees. Similarly, the vuvuzelas for the games are used as a way of expressing their feelings about the game itself.” (Telegraph)
So what do you think? Should the vuvuzelas be banned? Also, if you’d like to see a demonstration on the art of vuvuzela blowing, watch this video.
No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.