To some, if not most, spectators whether in the stadium or at home in front of the TV the vuvuzela has become an object of dislike bordering on hatred.
Back in 2005 the South African columnist and sportswriter Jon Qwelane had described the vuvezela as “an instrument from hell” that had stopped him from enjoying the game and begged for it to be banned from the 2010 world cup. Foresight indeed.
The reason supporters blow them and make the droning noise is apparently in an attempt to kill off the opposition.
According to Wiki, Freddie ‘Saddam’ Maake claims to have invented the vuvuzela back in the 1960s from an old bicycle horn minus the rubber bulb. He made it longer with some tubing but it was banned as a ‘dangerous weapon’, more foresight. He has photographs of himself with his ‘instrument’ at games from the 1970s right up to the 1998 world cup in France. To get round the ban he found a plastics company willing to manufacture it for him. In 2001 Masincedane Sport began mass production of the weapon of mass deafness.
The standard vuvuzela (if there can be such a thing) is one metre long and produces a B flat note at about 127 dB. They are therefore viewed as risky on two main fronts. The first is the sheer noise generated at a foorball match is more than enough to induce some deafness. The second is that their use causes a higher risk of circulating airborne cold, flu and other nasties around the stadiums.
The sound they make has been described as ‘annoying’ right through to ‘satanic’. But nowhere have I seen the sound described as soothing or pleasant.
A new vuvuzela was announced yesterday that is meant to be 20dB quieter than the old style (every 3dB up doubles the noise, every 3dB down halves it, so this is quite a reduction).
A legal challenge to their use was mounted earlier in the year by the SA Nazereth Baptist Church who claim the instrument as their own. They wanted its use banned at the world cup. I would bet there are a lot of people who would happily back that legal claim!
It has been reported that the BBC has received 545 complaints about the instrument. Many players, spectators and watchers are not happy about their continued use.
But at least they drown out the constant droning of commentators and also give players and managers something to blame a poor performance on.
And for us telly watchers there’s always the volume control.