Money will talk louder than any vuvuzela

By Mark Gleeson
June 23, 2009

The debate around the vuvuzela was always going to generate big noise but for some South African commentators it has become almost a neo-colonial conflict.

The noisy trumpet, which dominates the sound waves around the stadiums during the Confederations Cup, has got a lot of people covering their ears.

Complaints from TV viewers across Europe have been vociferous enough for the future of the plastic pest to become the major item on the agenda at the series of press conferences FIFA president Sepp Blatter has held during the tournament in South Africa.

Blatter has said it will stay — he wants to celebrate local custom and is inviting the rest of the world to do so too.

FIFA’s television arm, HBS, are more cautious but say privately, at the end of the day what Blatter says goes.

The European TV stations, who pay a lot of the money that funds FIFA, Blatter and the World Cup, could have the vuvuzela banned if they bleated enough. But most of the noise, so far, has come from enraged South Africa columnists, who have rounded on the poor Dutch journalist who first sought Blatter’s response to complaints from European television viewers.

In Africa, there is a sensitivity to being told what to do from outside and a pride in seeking to create a unique World Cup in 2010. Some of the stuff written though has been a little churlish. See here, here and here for a flavour.

At the end the day, it is the big TV money that talks. If the world’s broadcasters feel the cacophony of vuvuzelas detracts from the viewing pleasure of their public, FIFA will be forced to back down and ban the trumpets from the 2010 World Cup stadiums.

It won’t have anything to do with any ‘ism, just cold hard cash.

PHOTO: A South African soccer fan blows on a traditional “vuvuzela” horn before the start of the Confederations Cup match between New Zealand and Iraq at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, June 20, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

9 comments

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I am South African, and I think teh Vuvuzela is a complete disgrace to the game. Soccer is a beautiful sport, not a riot. Ban it

Posted by F16 | Report as abusive

The Vuvuzela is an annoying plastic trumpet also known as a stadium horn that is constantly blown at all soccer/football matches in South Africa. It sounds like a deafening mix of angry elephants trumpeting, a swarm of buzzing bees and a fog horn. What can we do? Go to http://www.banvuvuzela.com/ Register with your name, country and email and then vote. Tell your friends and family to do so too. It is our intention to submit these votes to the relevant authorities who can do something about it. Together we can make our 2010 World Cup the best experience for all.http://www.banvuvuzela.com/

Posted by Ban Vuvuzela | Report as abusive

[...] Money will talk louder than any vuvuzela (Reuters) “The debate around the vuvuzela was always going to generate big noise but for some South African commentators it has become almost a neo-colonial conflict.” [...]

The argument over the Vuvuzela is going to get nasty and Africa will not take kindly to be told what to do by foreigners! That is the bottom line.Already, South Africans are angry at the complaints by the Europeans and they are crying racism and classism and we all know that—for a country that only became liberated in 1994—matters of race are sensitive and usually inflate emotions.Sometimes it is not always that the dominant and richer group has it way all the time. Life is, at the end of the day, a delicate act of compromise. That is what is needed here. I do not see how FIFA could begin to fathom a ban of the Vuvuzela during a tournament held in South Africa! That would be akin to a visitor to your house dictating to you how to prepare dinner…I had a friend ask me this and I failed him an answer. What would be the reaction of the world if poor African countries went to Europe for a soccer tournament and demanded that Europeans change their way of cheering their teams on? No one will take them seriously. They will be told, actually, to wise up to civilization!That is the problem of this debate. Reason will not prevail. Emotions will.

Posted by nassah | Report as abusive

Maybe the TV companies will threaten to stage an ‘alternative’ World Cup, unless the vuvuzela is banned and that Sepp Blatter steps down at the next FIFA presidency re-election.But seriously, I do find it an annoying sound, but it wouldn’t make me not watch, it’ll only make me turn the volume down.

Posted by Loginoffski | Report as abusive

I am a South African and everyone, without exception, that I have spoken to, hates the sound of the vuvuzela and wants it banned. The vuvuzela has nothing to do with African culture: the manufacture of this instrument made from plastic is merely a successful business venture. All muscial instruments, for that matter, should be banned from soccer matches. Imagine everyone that had a musical instrument that he could not play a single tune one, taking that instrument to a football and playing that instrument continuously. Why should the vuvuzela be an exception? Let us show the world how sophisticated and advanced we South Africans are and not how primitive and annoying.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

What about the practical side. Research has shown that such an amount of noise is not good for your hearing.

The vuvuzela makes a sound of a trumpeting elephant. its the sound of nature. its music to the ears of the one that appreciates and understands the melody of that sound or an irritation and annoyance to one that does not appreciate nature and its creations. Both of the above reactions are just the perceptions of the individuals. My point is, when an event like the world cup is happening, the people should come together and embrace everybody and everything with one another. There should be no differences except the team you are supporting. Stop complaining, Stop moaning, Stop criticizing, Stop being negetive. Tolerance and patience are the order of the day. The sound of the vuvuzela is the signiture tune of africa.

Posted by James Bond | Report as abusive

Boys boys boys !! I have just discovered this wonderful blogsite … my boyfriend is a big footy fan and showed it to me today. He also forced me to watched some football from South Africa and I got into it. I looked up the Vuvuzela on the internet — and its not TRADITIONAL south african soccer music but a commercial exercise … and I think its awful…..Why dont they blow a ryhtym. What could Humphrey Lyttleton done with it down at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho !! Or Van Morrison ??

http://www.banvuvuzela.com

Posted by ban vuvuzela dot com | Report as abusive