Friday, June 11, 2010

Surely South Africa can create a carnival atmosphere of football without the need to blow their own trumpet? [CNN]

Horns aplenty thundered away on Vuvuzela Day, 48 hours before the start of the World Cup, at an open top bus parade for South Africa’s football team. A pregnant CNN colleague, reporting from the event, said she could feel her baby jumping around like crazy. The deafening noise can penetrate any barrier!

I know I’m sounding like a killjoy, but the vuvuzela isn’t an ancient South African custom. It is simply a marketing ploy to create an artificial party atmosphere.

SHOOT: It's an annoying sound that's for sure. Question is, who are the idiots blowing them?
South African children blow their vuvuzelas at a pre-World Cup charity event in Pretoria. AFP/Getty Images.

Johannesburg, South Africa – All of us in South Africa are trying to come to terms with the most unique and unavoidable aspect of this World Cup: the booming, ear-splitting cacophony of the vuvuzela, a horn blown with gusto by seemingly all native football fans.

Although the tradition is only a couple of decades old, it has already sharply divided opinion in South Africa and is about to do the same to the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving for the tournament.

When it comes to the vuvuzela, you either love it or hate it. There’s no middle ground.

Even in the sanctuary of a hotel room at night you will be able to hear one being blown by somebody, somewhere. It sounds like an industrial fog horn blaring out a warning to passing ships – but we’re nowhere near the coast in Johannesburg.

It’s the same sound that wakes most journalists in the morning. You can tell that I’m erring towards the “hate ‘em” camp.

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