For many South Africans, going to the stadium without a vuvuzela is like going to school without your books. The vuvuzela is a funnel shaped instrument that is blown by South African fans during the soccer matches and it is believed by many fans that it heartens South African players, especially when they have the opportunity to score a goal.
There has been some controversy in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, held in South Africa, about this horn. At the beginning of the World Cup there were calls for the instrument to be banned in stadiums, but FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Twitter that he would not dream of suppressing fan culture in any country. Now one sees many tourists walking around in South Africa with a vuvuzela in their nation’s colours.
Where does it come from?
According to Wikipedia, the Vuvuzela, also known as Lepatata (its Tswana name) is an air horn, approximately one metre in length, commonly blown by fans at soccer matches in South Africa.
According to southafrica.info the ancestor of the Vuvuzela is said to be the Kudu’s horn (called ixilongo in IsiXhosa and mhalamhala in Tshivenda), which was blown to summon African villagers to meetings.
The origin of the name “vuvuzela” is disputed. It may originate from the Zulu for “making noise”, or from the “vuvu” sound it makes. According to Wikipedia the vuvuzela was originally made from tin and became popular is South Africa in the 1990s where it was often blown in matches between big South African soccer teams Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
Different people claim to be the inventor of this instrument. Wikipedia says South African Kaizer Chiefs fan Freddie “Saddam” Maake claims he made an aluminum version of the vuvuzela from a bicycle horn in 1965 and he has photographs of himself holding this invention in the 1970′s, 1980′s and 1990′s. The Nazareth Baptist Church has also claimed that the vuvuzela is a holy instrument used in their church for decades. The plastic factory Masincedane Sport has mass-produced the plastic vuvuzela mostly used at soccer matches today.
A variety to choose from
There are different types of vuvuzelas, some made of plastic and others are truly works of art, covered in beads.
According to vuvuzela.com the new Sockzela is a vuvuzela covered with a removable fabric sheath in the colours of a specific team participating in the World Cup.
The Zazu or Kuduzela is a curved vuvuzela inspired by the horn of a kudu and developed into a designer musical trumpet by world renowned South African Industrial designer Brian Steinhobel.
According to Media Club South Africa there are even innovative people who are making vuvuzelas out of kelp found on South African beaches!
Different people have different views about the Vuvuzelas. Some like it because they feel that it is a symbol of support and that it shows unity among the fans. Some people hate it, because they feel it keeps people from paying attention to the game; they only focus on the noise made by the vuvuzela.
Like it or not, the vuvuzela is a part of South African soccer culture, so go to the stadiums or fan parks and show our visitors how to blow that vuvuzela.
Watch this video of a British television station’s explanation of the vuvuzela.