Blow it out your vuvuzela

#208 Join in the fray about vuvuzelas that has become more deafening than the trumpet itself this week. Score one to South Africa for getting the word into international headlines, another for causing Twitter to shudder with #vuvuzela overload, a third for making Ronaldo weigh in on this weighty matter (instead of on fast cars and faster women) and give that guy at the rugby match in Wales that was brave enough to blow one a round of applause. It’s something I have written about before, the fact that I like the vuvuzela and its angry-wasp-like sound (cue the insults from the vuvuzela-haters).

Celebrating the opening of the World Cup, SA-style

In fact I have of late become an eager fan of the very impressive looking kuduzela and am hoping that enters into the FIFA World Cup lexicon.

Although… it was a bit odd watching the opening ceremony of the World Cup on TV after returning from seeing it live at Soccer City and realising how much of it I had missed. “Oh, so that’s what they were singing.”

I would have loved to have heard that schmaltzy R Kelly song “Sign of Victory” on the day, and it would have been great to hear Thandiswa Mazwai’s version of Miriam Makeba’s “click” song. I didn’t hear much of what praise singer Zolani Mkiva (I am a fan) had to say either as I was shushing the people around me to give the vuvuzela’s a break. (Cue the abuse from the vuvuzela-lovers). But trying to shush 86 000 of them was ambitious even for me.

As a vuvuzela fan, and I am still one, I can’t help but blame someone for a profound lack of imagination in dealing with this. I am also a fan of nuanced performance, of being moved by music and of not kowtowing to the tone-deaf (who, bless them are almost deaf from blowing that thing).

Where is a cheeky campaign from the organisers, a corporate brand or an ad agency about vuvuzela etiquette, about how to create a real tune with one (I have heard this can be done), about being open to welcome the world and its soccer customs, and making the vuvuzela one piece of soccer’s performance arsenal in among the makarapa’s, chants, mariachi bands, mexican waves, English football songs and whatever else people do to show they are having a good time and supporting a team. If you can teach smokers when to smoke and when not to (and you don’t get many worse habits than that apart from a few listed in the 10 commandments) then vuvuzela-blowers should be a cinch. 🙂

For some basics on when to blow and how to blow it, watch vuvuzela founder and creator Sadaam Maake who was interviewed as part of the iSchoolAfrica World Cup Youth Press Team project – an initiative involving 15 school teams in four provinces, each equipped with a microphone, camera and MacBook and a brief to create video stories about the World Cup (quick disclosure: I am managing this project and you can find out more about it at

And if you can hear me above that buzzing sound … Come up with an interesting plan for the vuvuzela. It’s not too late.

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