Buzz off, vuvuzelas

Fans play vuvuzelas during World Cup game.
Fans play vuvuzelas during World Cup game.
Posted: June 14, 2010

HARD TO BELIEVE but some people think World Cup games should be seen and not heard.

We're talking vuvuzelas here. Those god-awful horns that sound like a swarm of killer bees.

Danny Jordaan, the organizing chief of the World Cup, said he has received so many complaints from broadcasters and others that he is considering banning the "instruments."

That would be OK with French captain Patrice Evra, who blamed the constant cacophony for his team's scoreless tie against Uruguay.

"We can't sleep at night because of the vuvuzelas. People start playing them from 6 a.m.," Evra told the BBC. "We can't hear one another out on the pitch because of them."

According to Smithsonian.com, the horns are a big part of the South African soccer culture. When the country was awarded the World Cup in 2004, former president Nelson Mandela celebrated by tooting one. However, the site noted that a study in the South African Medical Journal found that the sound of vuvuzelas - when played by thousands of rabid fans - can reach more than 140 decibels, which is like standing next to a jet engine.

Noise aside, Jordaan has another reason for not liking the tacky horns.

"I would prefer singing," he said. "It's always been a great generator of a wonderful atmosphere in stadiums. In the days of the struggle [against apartheid] we were singing, all through our history it's our ability to sing that inspired and drove the emotions."

- Tom Mahon

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