Khaya Dlanga

Don't cry for me, Vuvuzela!

2010-06-15 12:05

If there is one thing that can be said about the vuvuzela, it’s that it is very contagious. Even if you hate it, once it’s placed in front of you, you can’t help but pick it up and blow with glorious ferocity.

People hate hearing others blow it, but love it when they pump their cheeks with air to blow it. It’s like sex; people don’t mind doing it but hate hearing their neighbours shagging (a problem I had until recently, thank goodness they moved out). 

The first time you hear your neighbours indulge in hanky panky it is mildly amusing, but not so much once you start hearing them scream frequently.

Incidentally, it’s shaped like a section of the South African flag. Have a look at our flag and notice how the green section eventually forks to form the shape of the vuvuzela. It is meant to be. It is part of our culture.

One could even say it’s in our flag, therefore it’s part of our national identity. I jest. Lest someone thinks that I am being serious. Truth is though is that it has become part of our sporting culture. Just a few weeks ago, we heard them in Orlando Stadium during a rugby match.

I will not deny that they can be terribly annoying. In the past we really never had as many vuvuzelas in a stadium as we do now. Soccer matches have become much louder as we drew nearer to the World Cup. They are louder than they have ever been simply because there are more vuvuzelas per square metre than in the past. Is this based on scientific research? No it’s not. It’s based on a calculated guesstimation, whatever that means. 

Last week Wednesday I wrote a joke on Twitter that some people mistook for the truth. I call it the lie that traveled around the world. I said, “The sound of the vuvuzela is the only thing that can be heard from space.” Many people then retweeted it thinking that it was some scientific fact. Calling for it to be banned precisely because of that.

Well, I say these people should be banned from being human beings at all. Anyone who has done basic physics knows that sound cannot travel in a vacuum. 

And now, the case for the ban...

We have to admit that it is loud. Sometimes we struggle to hear the commentators on TV. Something needs to be done to reduce the noise. The constant sounds can be terribly annoying. It’s like going home early to sleep, but then your neighbour’s Chihuahua won’t stop barking for 90 minutes straight. Hearing it bark makes you want to do things you’d never consider doing to animals. Sometimes the vuvuzela inspires these emotions.

It has the potential to spoil this World Cup for South Africa, having the whole world talk about these loud instruments as opposed to talking about what a successful World Cup we’ve had. No one can deny that it has been very successful so far and has more than disappointed those who hoped it wouldn’t. In fact, even those who hoped it wouldn’t be a roaring success are more than happy to see that it is. Well, excerpt maybe for the Australians.

Banning it is not a solution. New vuvuzelas must be less noisy. Perhaps people should only blow them at the start of a match, half-time, end of a match and when a goal is scored if they are left to be as loud as they are. But then again who has the right to dictate how people should celebrate?

As the world is seemingly against it, South African lips are behind it. Ironically, I’ve had numerous requests on social networking sites from people from all over the world asking me to send them vuvuzelas. They hate it, but they want it. The more the world tells us to ban the vuvuzela, the more we’ll want to keep it – even if it annoys us too.

To those people who want it banned I have this to say; South Africa’s greatest made in China export is here to stay.

It annoys me too. But I have a message for those who want it banned: ban it my ass.

- Follow Khaya on Twitter.

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