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Here In Africa: Vuvuzelas

In the first of a new series of weekly columns Barbara Durlacher introduces us to the ghastly sound of the vuvuzela.

This is the first of these columns and Iím going to begin by quoting a message Iíve just received from one of the Openwriting readers and kindly forwarded to me by Peter Hinchliffe.

It reads as follows:

ĒI read your article on South African football some time ago and I read it quickly because I am not interested in football. However, I have just read it again, prompted by curiosity aroused by the strange sound of a thousand blowflies which Iíve heard buzzing out of peopleís televisions when the current matches are being shown. I am sooooo glad I am never likely to attend such an event. But anyway, if itís OK with you, Iíd like to print out your words on this subject and pass them around so that certain persons in my life can be as well-informed as I now am.....Ē

And hereís my reply:

"South Africa is presently going through a preview of the 2010 hysteria with a month of the Confederation Cup which must be what you were watching, and there's been a lot of discussion on our local radio about whether these horrible vuvuzelas should be banned or not. At the time of writing the score seems to be more or less level; soccer fans say itís an essentially South African sound which must stay, while people like you and I who are not interested in football claim the noise detracts from the pleasure of the game and are begging to have them outlawed.

Personally, I wish every one of those dreadful implements (not instruments, please note) could be put somewhere the sun doesn't shine, but probably the same thing will happen with this discussion as does with everything else here these days; the majority view will prevail and we will be subjected to listening to that ghastly noise without mercy for weeks.

Would it be that we all like our own comfort zones and resent them being invaded by something so alien to our ideas of what constitutes a sporting occasion?


To read more about vuvuzelas visit




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