Vuvuzela deserves to be red-carded at all our soccer pavilions

2010-09-05 12:51

Europe’s football authorities have done the right thing by banning the vuvuzela at their elite tournaments.

Their act is likely to save the game from the vuvuzela, which is so loud that the long-established culture of singing at games was facing a quick death.

The Vuvuzela is a truly annoying instrument, too loud even by industrial standards, and earplugs should be mandatory for anyone within 50m of a vuvuzela blast.

Even though some may protest their action, I have no doubt that in time we will all thank them for restoring ­sanity.

It is not for nothing that football is known as the ­beautiful game.

The vuvuzela was threatening to drown out all the nuanced beauty of this game with its high decibel drone.

For all their passion for this high-pitched instrument, even its advocates have to agree that the vuvuzela has to be one of the ugliest sounds known to the human race.

There are things that are unique to our football that we should all be justifiably proud of.

These include the makarapa and richly adorned uniforms and other paraphernalia such as the over-sized eyewear (goggles).

These elements added something special and uniquely South African to the spectacle of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

But they served to enhance the experience, instead of brutishly taking over as the brazen drone of the vuvuzela inevitably does.

In a rush to lay some claim to the uniqueness of our World Cup, some went so far as to suggest that the vuvuzela was part of South Africa’s football heritage. But this is simply not true.

Shosholoza and many of the other powerful but still nice songs that are sung by fans of Bafana Bafana, Orlando Pirates, Bloemfontein Celtic and the other teams form the most unique aspect of our football heritage.

Singing harnesses the strength of the collective, and it adds to the palpable sense of magic at the most hallowed of the football stadiums.

These songs provide the proverbial 12th man at games, when teams are roused to superhuman ability because the singing of a certain song signals that it is now or never.

Wafa Wafa, as we say: But it is impossible to see how the ceaseless blaring of a monotonous sound that comes out more like industrial bees can rouse anyone to acts of heroism. Despite the claims by many that the vuvuzela is part of South Africa’s football culture, a quick glance through our football history reveals that this instrument is a new-comer to our football scene.

When it first arrived it was blown by a few fans, usually the so-called Number One fans that are a feature of so much of our football.

Even then they did not blow it incessantly, and there was a give–and-take between them and those wishing to sing, and lest we forget it, those wishing to talk. Football is after all a social game and it is part of its rich tradition that those attending games will shout their lungs out but also whisper to their friends.

All these layers of the beautiful game face extinction with the rise of the vuvuzela.

Mobile phones, for instance, have become a permanent feature at games, yet 15 years ago they were as rare as a high-scoring game in the PSL.

Digital cameras have turned many fans into happy snappers, but all these changes have blended into the overall fabric of the game of football instead of destroying it.

As with many things, some may think I am being mean about this cheap plastic contraption, but they may yet thank me for saying out loud what they privately express.

» Dlamini is chairman of the Chillibush group of companies. He writes in his personal capacity.

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