Jon Qwelane

'Ban the vuvuzela'

2005-02-07 11:24

Not so long ago, I was an ardent member of the fanatical fraternity at football stadiums, attending many live games and yes, often being among the noisiest of supporters.

Of course, back in the early 1970s, I was also a young sportswriter for the Sunday Times Extra and later, the Rand Daily Mail.

In addition, I was, and still am, a die-hard Orlando Pirates supporter. Then it was the thrill of witnessing Bucs thrashing teams like Moroka Swallows Big XI, Kaizer Chiefs and the "Skom Boys", commonly known as Pimville United Brothers.

Earlier, before the advent of Chiefs, it had been sheer magic to watch the likes of Kaizer "Chincha" Motaung, Percy "Chippa" Moloi, Alfred "Russia" Jacobs, Bernard "Dancing Shoes" Hartze, and other stars like Ratha "Jimmy Greaves" Mokgoatlheng, Thomas "Zero My Hero" Johnson, Allen "Chainpuller" Chiyi and the Khoza brothers, "Mainline" and "Tikkie", doing wonders on the evergreen pitch of Orlando stadium.

The other sides also had gifted ball jugglers like Chris "Rollaway" Ndlovu, Mlungisi "Professor" Ngubane, Judah Duiker, Steve "Brixton" Maseko, Blessing "Killer" Mgidi, Abel "KK" Lentsoane, "Sugar Ray" Xulu, Mantololo John "Buick" Makwati, Daniel "Swing Callie" Masike, and many more.

Firm support

The appreciative fans would whistle loudly and piercingly at the mesmerising moves and play, often chanting in unison "Ayyyyce" when a maestro like Patrick "Ace" Ntsoelengoe was doing his devastating thing with the ball.

The whistling and chanting was so evocative, especially when a goal was scored or brilliantly saved by the acrobatic moves of goalkeeping gurus like Jimmy Bene or Patson "Kamuzu" Banda.

Goose pimples were in order on such occasions, which were many in the days when football was played for its sake.

Nowadays, there is an instrument from hell, called the vuvuzela, which has largely formed my decision to abandon all live games and rather watch on TV, with the sound totally muted.

Before this satan of an instrument came along, there was the irritating habit of fans lighting up firecrackers and creating a staccato rattle with the damned things.

Fortunately that madness petered away in a few seasons, and then someone came along with the vuvuzela.

I know I could be skating on very thin and shaky ground now, but can the Safa authorities find it in themselves to ban this irritating thing outright?

Nigerians and especially the Cameroonians, the Senegalese and other West Africans play drums and blow bugles, but at least they produce music.

But the non-melodious vuvuzela?

Ban it before it makes us appear like a bunch of clowns in 2010.

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  • John Qwelane's column is published each week on News24, courtesy of Jon Qwelane and the editor of Sunday Sun, which originally carried the article.

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