Sunday, May 30, 2010

A South African Vuvuzela-Hater!

I thought it was a law: If you are South African, you love the vuvezela.

(Yes, this is Day 2 of our anti-vuvuzela campaign.)

Turns out, as this Johannesburg Times columnist notes, that the vuvuzela is a recent curse, and that before the turn of the century South Africans routinely sang before, during and after soccer matches.

Which reminds me of ...

Paul Simon, the American singer, doing an entire album -- and quite a musical one -- named "Graceland" entirely with the cooperation and collaboration of South Africans.

And here is our columnist, Mondli Makhanya, ruing the conquest of South African soccer ambience by the vile vuvuzela.

"In two weeks' time, when Bafana Bafana take on Mexico at Soccer City, there will sadly be very little singing in the stands.

"We South Africans, a mighty musical nation if ever there was one, will have replaced hearty renditions with the noise of something called the vuvuzela.

"This instrument, which emits a sound akin to that of a goat on the way to slaughter, is now at the center of a growing row in international football."

He notes that players who were at the Confederations Cup last June complained of the noise. Said Xabi Alonso: "I think Fifa should ban it. It's not really distracting, but it's not a nice sound to hear."

"Last week, football legend and Thailand coach Bryan Robson blamed the vuvuzela for his team's disjointed performance in their friendly against Bafana Bafana at Peter Mokaba stadium. He warned that it would make life difficult for coaches at the World Cup.

"The coaches at the World Cup are definitely going to have to inform their players beforehand that they will have to communicate effectively with each other on the field," the former England and Manchester United midfield dynamo said.

"It's very difficult to get any message to the players from the bench. Coaches are going to have to make that known to their players."

"Word on the street is that several coaches have voiced their disquiet to their national associations, who have in turn conveyed the message to Fifa."

Not that it's going to do any good. South Africans seem to have decided that it is a matter of national pride, which the columnist mocks.

"Predictably, South Africans have been very defensive. A lot of noise has been made about the vuvuzela being part of South African tradition and it being the proverbial 12th man in the Bafana squad ...

"Defending the vuvuzela has now become a patriotic must," the columnist wrote.

"It is as if our nationhood is being challenged by pesky foreigners who want to dictate our behavior on home soil.

"On this one I beg to be unpatriotic and for permission to side with the enemies of the vuvuzela.

"What the vuvuzela has done to our football is to take away the spontaneity of song. Soccer fans do not compose new songs any more. The tribal chants that you hear at great soccer cathedrals such as White Hart Lane and the Santiago Bernabeu are rarely heard in our soccer grounds these days. Except for the Bloemfontein Celtic support base, the music in South African stadiums has been drowned by the dreadful instrument."

I'm right there with you, Mr Makhanya. I wish the vuvuzela would go away. I am pleased you have cited local history for its demise.

Sadly, I think both you and I will be drowned out by the goat-to-slaughter blare of that horrible instrument.
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