FIFA pondering vuvuzela ban as criticism grows
Published 22:30 13/06/10 By Alun Palmer
Mexico had its wave. Argentina its blizzards of ticker tape. But the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be remembered for the constant hum - like a swarm of angry wasps - of the vuvuzela.
Even England’s vocal supporters and travelling band were no match for the crowd constantly blowing on the plastic horns during the USA game.
Many fans - in South Africa, watching here on TV or worst of all listening on radio - hate the sound but others say it represents the joyful way the World Cup has been embraced by the home nation.
With all the controversy World Cup organising chief Danny Jordaan is considering banning vuvuzelas from the tournament.
Asked if it was a possibility fans could be prevented from bringing the instruments into the stadiums, he said: “We have heard from the broadcasters and other individuals and it is something we are evaluating on an ongoing basis.
“We have tried to get some order with it. We have asked for no vuvuzelas during national anthems or when anyone is making an announcement. I know it is a difficult question but we are trying to manage it as best we can.
“It is a huge debate and it will continue, but we did say that if one lands on the pitch in anger then we will not think twice and take action.”
Even in Britain, the sound of the vuvuzela will become common place. Supermarket Sainsbury’s bought 75,000 of them and expect to sell out.
A spokesman said: “We sold 15,000 last week before a ball had even been kicked! We expect them all to go very quickly.”
The vuvuzelas are being blown with such enthusiasm, fans are even reporting a new form of injury - vuvuzela lip. Medical studies have also shown they help spread cold and flu germs. And doctors are worried about hearing damage, with the sound of a vuvuzela at close range reaching 127 decibels - far louder than the 100 decibels of for example, a chain saw. It’s little wonder earplugs, called Vuvu-Stops, are selling fast.
The horn became popular in South Africa in the 1990s but Kaizer Chiefs FC fan Freddie “Saddam” Maake claims he invented the vuvuzela in 1965 after removing the rubber ball from the end of a large aluminium horn and then blowing into it.
But they’re also said to be based on a traditional instrument made from the horns of a kudu antelope.
Where the word vuvuzela comes from is even more hazy. One theory is it came from the Zulu word for making a vuvu noise. It is also a township slang word for shower.