2010 FIFA World Cup: South African Vuvuzela Horns on Debate

Lauren HerroldContributor IJune 14, 2010

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 14:  An Italy fan blows a vuvuzela prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group F match between Italy and Paraguay at Green Point Stadium on June 14, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

If you’ve watched any of the World Cup games so far, you’ve noticed the constant buzz in the background. It’s the vuvuzela trumpet.

The vuvuzela is a South African plastic horn that South Africans see as a symbol of national pride. It’s based on the horn of the kudu antelope and was used to send signals over long distances. For many though, it’s annoying and disruptive to the real reason we’re tuning in.

We just want to watch some soccer. 

There have been complaints from World Cup players and coaches, saying the horns are disruptive and make it difficult to communicate on the field. The players can’t hear each other and the coaches aren’t able to give instructions during games. Many fans find it hard to just enjoy the game.  

Along with being annoying, the vuvuzela’s sound has been measured at 127 decibels. That’s louder than a chainsaw and can be a huge risk for permanent hearing damage for fans standing too close.

There’s still a month left to go in the World Cup and many people are hoping for a vuvuzela ban to make the remainder of the tournament more enjoyable.

It looks like players, coaches, and fans alike won’t be getting their wish. FIFA president Sepp Blatter responded in a Twitter response, saying, “I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound…I don’t see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country. Would you want to see a ban on the fans of your country?”  

For South Africa, the vuvuzela is an integral part of soccer matches. Hopefully it’s not something the United States pick up anytime soon.