As a long time supporter of the anti-apartheid movement I couldn’t be prouder for a free South Africa to be hosting the World Cup (I drink coffee from an ANC fundraiser coffee mug I bought when Nelson Mandela was still in prison, I have read Mandela’s autobiography, I own dozens of South African vinyl records and music CDs and I have friends who live there).
But when I watched Mexico vs. South Africa on TV last night I was deeply irritated by the constant drone of vuvuzelas, meter-long plastic trumpets played by fans that make it sound like a swarm of about 10 million wasps is hovering over the stadium throughout the games. There is no rhythm or melody to it, it is just noise at exactly one volume, extremely loud.
To me, part of the attraction of a football (soccer) match is in the crowd response, the ups and downs of singing and shouting and gasping by the crowd as the ball moves closer to their goal or the other team’s goal, as the teams gain and lose control of the ball, etc. It makes football games exciting when you listen to them on the radio, where you only get the crowd response and a reporter describing the action. None of that happens with vuvuzelas. If you close your eyes in this cacophony it’s like the audience is absent, but someone forgot to turn off a hundred jet engines.
It drives you crazy. I don’t know how the players can put up with it. How do they communicate with their team mates? How about viewers trying to follow reporters in the stadium, how about reporters who have to talk in this noise?
I don’t know about you, but if this pattern persists with other games, even ones not involving the South African team then I may give this World Cup a miss on TV and I pity those who traveled half way around the globe to see their favourite teams play, only to be drowning in an orgy of mindless noise.
Bring back the beautiful Brazilian samba drums, but ban the mindless vuvuzela. PLEASE!