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Monday, March 09, 2009

Vuvuzela -- The New Theme of the 2010 World Cup

Fans blowing their beloved Vuvuzelas at the opening game
of the 2010 World Cup between host nation South
Africa and Mexico. (Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Have you noticed that loud buzzing sound, like a gigantic swarm of bees coming right at you from your TV (or computer) no matter which world cup game you try to watch? This new world-wide sensation has become the dominating theme for the currently on-going 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa, and the culprit is a South African "traditional instrument" (but the cheap plastic version) called Vuvuzela.

The vuvuzela is a long plastic horn/trumpet type instrument. It came to international attention during the run-up to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, also hosted at South Africa as a testing run for the following year's World Cup tournament. As FIFA's official web site puts it:
The vuvuzela has become part of the official South African football fans arsenal. It is a plastic trumpet which makes a distinctive noise, comparable to an elephant blowing their trunk. A stadium can often erupt with noise from fans blowing on their vuvuzelas. The South African Football Association, in a community-building project, has helped manufacture the colored plastic trumpet.
A cacophany of sound greeted England fans flying
into Johannesburg Photograph: Hussein Malla/AP
At the price of only 60 South African Rand (approximately $8 USD), this plastic horn quickly gained the hearts of many South African football (the international football, not American football) fans whether rich or poor, and soon became a symbol representing the South African flavor for the sport of football. And as the many football fans from all over the world gathered at the South African nation, the fashion quickly caught on among everyone. When tens of thousands of fans blow their beloved plastic trumpets at the same time inside the same stadium, the effect can be quite dramatic and annoying to some.

Broadcasters have complained about the constant annoying buzzing noise created by the many vuvuzelas, complaining that they are ruining the viewers' World Cup experience, and asked for a ban of the plastic trumpet at the World Cup. Some viewers had opted to mute the games just to get rid of the constant noise. Some players also complained that the noise can affect players' ability to perform in the field. Spain striker David Villa, who played at the Confederation Cup had said:
"In many parts of the game it can bother you a bit because you can't communicate anything to a teammate who's more than 10 meters away from you."
The vuvuzela, a long plastic horn, is just about the most
popular item in South Africa right now. -- Photo: AFP
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk actually banned spectators from blowing their vuvuzelas at his team's training sessions, and a London Doctor also warned that the vuvuzela can spread cold and flu germs. However, most viewers didn't mind the noise and actually liked it because it really brings out the enthusiasm at the stadium and make the experience more alive. And for those spectators at the stadium, this is one thing everyone must have. It also makes a great souvenir. England defender Jamie Carragher said that he had been asked to bring some back and his kids had been on the phone asking for two. FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, also defended South African fans' right to blow their vuvuzela horns at the World Cup:
"I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound," the FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a Twitter message on Monday. "I don't see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country."Blatter went on to ask: "Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?"
So if you are quite annoyed by the buzzing sound from your TV (or computer), how can you improve the situation? Here are some suggestions:
    • Use a noise-canceling headphone such as these ones. Turn it on, but don't plug it into anything.
      • Watch your World Cup games on a desktop computer with very loud fans, so the loud noise of the fan covers the noise of the vuvuzelas and you get annoyed by the noisy fan instead --- this is my personal solution!
      • Buy a vuvuzela from an online store (e.g.this one) for each of your family members (and maybe friends) and then blow them as loud as you wish toward your TV (or computer) without exceeding the annoyance threshold of your neighbor. You can even use your vuvuzelas for a lot of other things as this web site has suggested:
      1. Cricket bat.
      2. Hearing Aid.
      3. Petrol funnel.
      4. Water sprayer. (force trumpet side down into water)
      5. Drinking funnel. Nuff said.
      6. 4G mobile communication
      7. Walking stick,
      8. Light saber. (Just insert a torch) as seen on Starwars….
      9. Jousting Stick (simply insert one into another.)
      10. And of coarse… supporting any team/thing you like…..
        Fanartikel Soccer Vuvuzela South Africa - original Vuvuzelas from South Africa - Shop


        Do not watch three World Cup games back to back unless, of course, if you have a vuvuzela!