The Vuvuzela: To ban or not to ban

The Vuvuzela has been a talking topic in the football world ever since it gained international exposure during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup was hosted by South Africa. Many teams, supporters, officials and a considerable portion of the South African public are getting very annoyed by them. Many would be South African football fans (those that normally do not follow football in South Africa) are the ones being irritated the most. And their sound is also irritating international tourists visiting South Africa to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup games, as well as audiences watching the games on television (who claim that the sound of the commentary is being drowned by their sound). Reports have also been coming through about the vuvuzela’s sound being responsible for hearing loss (a result to extreme exposure to the 128 decibel sound that is emmitted by them).

Personally the Vuvuzela noise does not bother me that much. I’m a smoker and most of us have learned to be considerate when being in the company of non-smokers. I feel that the same strategy should be practiced when it comes to the vuvuzela. If an oke is 4 rows from me in the stadium and blowing his vuvuzela it will not bother me, but if he’s right behind me and blows it into my ear I might just kick him in the olives or give him a decent tongue lashing. Its all about being considerate. The noise is irritating if the vuvuzela is being blown without regard for people who don’t like their noise and might be considered by some as ‘invasion of personal space’ if its blown to close to them.

Danny Jordaan (the executive in charge of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organizing committee) is talking about implementing measures if too many complaints are received about this plastic musical instrument’s. I’m not saying that they should ban the vuvuzela (since it has become part of South African football culture for the last 10 years). I’m of the opinion that its use should be limited during matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Allow them to be blown before and after matches and at intervals. In my opinion fans should also be allowed to blow them if their side scores a goal. Another measure could be to request that fans install some kind of dampening device (if one exists for a vuvuzela) that will make the noise more bearable for human ears once they enter the stadiums. I’m also of the opinion that the organizing committee should consider banning them in the quarter finals, semi finals and final of the FIFA World Cup to ensure that the teams are focused on bringing us the best football the world has seen in years.

I’m sure that there a ton of people out there who will not agree with me on this and argue that this will be impossible to enforce at 2010 FIFA World Cup matches in South Africa. Their stance will probably be to ban them completely for the duration of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Since we live in a free democratic South Africa everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’m just making use of that fundamental human right and stating my opinion. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment on this post and let me know what you think of the Vuvuzela.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
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  • Geoffrey Chisnall

    i don’t mind the vuvuzelas…i just feel sorry for the players in the middle of the park who are trying to play their game but cannot due to the deafening sounds they make, making it very hard for the players to communicate. communication in football is a big thing and if you don’t have it, you are bound to suffer, as Evra from France was stating after the France game on Friday.

    Picture yourself in a small room. with 4 windows on each wall and hundreds of vuvuzelas being blown at you while you are trying to talk on your cellphone. get the picture?

    and don’t get me started on the people blowing them at 4am or 1am while you are trying to sleep! NOT AYOBA!!!!

  • Feetjie

    I think the Vuvuzela’s on TV sound like a hive of bees.

  • Norwin

    Hi, great blog! Thanks for sharing. I agree, let’s keep the vuvuzelas blowing, as they will be remembered forever as part of SA’s SWC. I do also agree – moderation and consideration! Let’s not forget our manners – if someone is blowing it your ear, ask them not to.

    I have a suspicion that vuvu’s are going to become a part of all SWC’s of the future, so let’s not tarnish our contribution to future SWC’s by banning them. Very short sighted.

    N.

  • Brent C

    I am a proud South African, and have a Personal attachment to my Vuvuzela, we have been on many travels TOGETHER!!! Please oh Please do not separate us.
    This been said, All Vuvuzela lovers should be responsible. Ear plugs are a MUST a good set costs R8.00 in your local Pharmacy, less than a Coke or beer at the Match.
    The Vuvuzella does drown out or possibly replace the traditional Chanting and singing, but the 2010 Worldcup is being hosted in Africa by South Africa and I feel the Vuvuzela gives the tournament a unique atmosphere. Lets put it this way, the Vuvuzela is already an International Hit, Lets see what happens from here.

    Lets all Just enjoy this Phenomenal Occasion! Go South Africa, Go Bafana Bafana , VIVA VUVUZELA VIVA

  • Roger Saner

    Ja, the vuvuzela is becoming quite an issue! I don’t mind them either, having heard plenty of them on Chiefs-Pirates derby days in Jozi, but what I do mind is that most people don’t know they can cause hearing damage. Particularly blowing them in closed spaces, like coming home from the game on the train in Cape Town on Friday – and aiming them right at people – that shouldn’t happen. Particularly not when there are babies around. But how to change that? A mass “vuvuzela re-education campaign”? I don’t know.

    Your idea about keeping the vuvuzela in the matches but scaling them back is an interesting one, and if only we could get it to work it would be a great solution. However, there’s just no ways that you’re going to convince people to only blow them *sometimes*. Good luck with that! It’s either all or nothing, unfortunately.

    In Obz, 2 of the local places have declared their venues “vuvuzela-free zones” and I think more will follow. For some – a welcome relief! I actually heard commentary for the first time this weekend – I watched the opening game outside in Greenmarket Square, and didn’t hear a single word from the commentators all game. The vibe was awesome, though!

    Personally, I’d prefer to watch the matches without hearing them the whole time; more singing would be welcome! But this is South Africa, and this is how we watch soccer. Unless we want to change that culture by enforcing a non-South African perspective – which comes with its own issues.

    It’s probably here to stay.

  • isabelle

    i was feeling it during the SA game for sure but the more iv been watching the games the more i find myself turning the volume down..which kinda annoys me because i really love watching the game loud and hearing the singing and chanting, but its just impossible with the constant buzzing of the vuvuzela. I mean i wanna hear people cheering and i even want to hear the silence of the fans when theyr dissapointed in their team, but you cant feel that coz the vu’s are still going.
    i think they should limit it to south africa games and then maybe before and after games. Even if its isnt true and just an excuse its not nice to hear that other teams are blaming their performances on the noise, theyr our guests and ultimately we should cater for them. If i had visitors in my house i would make sure they were content despite my usual routines and prefrences.

  • I dont see the point in banning vuvu’s… it will fall on deaf ears anyway 😉

  • Phillip Gibb

    it can get too much, but there are always earplugs?
    wonder how effective they are.
    Would have been ok, if the original design was slightly less noisy.
    As for banning – outside of stadiums, yes. Inside? no – that won’t work (no one will listen)

  • squareart

    I agree with you completely. But if they said only blow vuvu at beginning, end and on goals don’t you think that will be on deaf ears so to speak? I’m really sorry that you don’t get to hear the songs that are sung by all the countries for their teams, it really is just a boring buzz noise and is a huge reason I will not go watch a game in person. I don’t hate them but everything in moderation! But now who really can do anything about that?

  • val

    The damn thing gives you a head ache. Well i hope the people that blow them out of shear spite get very sore lips to a point where they have to see a doctor.
    They should learn the only time to blow them should be when a team scores a goal not the incesant way they do.
    As far as i am concerned africans are being very spiteful an i would not blame the soccer nation if they did not want to come back, after all they pay a lot of money to watch their favourite team and follow them all over the world as faithfully as they do
    Hope Blatter sits among the noise from 11th june to 11 july then tell us lets celabrate

  • Jason

    As a viewer from England it is really affecting my ability to enjoy the world cup. By all means use the horns during SA’s games but not every game. I personally know of over 10 people who are not watching games because of the noise created, we cant hear the booing, cheering, and chants of the crowd which is what gives us our passion for the game. I dont know if anyone has seen the various petitions and groups but it is producing a lot of negative attitudes towards SA.

  • Brian

    This will be remembered as the worst World Cup ever staged because of the horrible aural assault of constant vuvuzelas ruining everyones enjoyment of every single game.

  • Roger Saner

    Oops, for a moment there I forgot where this World Cup is hosted. Anyone who’s ever watched a local game, particularly the Chiefs-Pirates derby, knows that this is how soccer is watched in South Africa. Banning the vuvuzela says, “We don’t care HOW you watch soccer in your country – we’re foreigners and we hate the things – stop it!” Well, good luck with that – foreigners imposing their views on a local situation is going to create all kinds of resistance.

    As for the locals who hate them too – which local soccer teams do you support? Which local games have you been to? Unfortunately, until there are many of us non-Vuvu-blowers attending and supporting and investing in local soccer, our complaints hold no weight. All of my South African friends who watch soccer support European teams and have never gone to a local game.

    There are only 2 ways in which vuvuzela’s are going to stop:

    1. FIFA says, “Screw your local customs, we know better – it’s BANNED!” which they can do – since Bud is the only beer available at the stadiums, so there is a precedent for this. Again, this will create all kinds of problems under the heading of “culture and local customs” – FIFA don’t want to go there (and correctly so, IMHO).
    2. Everyone else gets together and says, “If singing and chanting really ARE better than the vuvuz, lets make friends with the blowers and teach them how to sing and chant.” Of course, if you’re wanting to teach other people a better way, you’d better be open to learning their ways, which means that, yes, if you want vuvuzela-blowers to stop blowing the vuvuzela, you’ll have to join them to show that you can do it to, and only THEN can you teach them how to sing and chant.

    There we have it, haters! If you want to change others, first show them you care about their culture, and then show them a better way. So, one way or another, if you want to help make a change, you’ll have to embrace the vuvu-ZWE-la (as some TV commentators say).

    Discuss.