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Viva our vuvuzela!

By unknown | Jun 22, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

FIFA has called the vuvuzela the symbol of South Africa. It indeed is.

FIFA has called the vuvuzela the symbol of South Africa. It indeed is.

The little trumpet loved by local football fans has emerged as a symbol of contradictions within society. The tensions that remained underplayed between the races and classes in South Africa are finding expression through positions adopted with regard to the vuvuzela.

The first creators of the vuvuzela could not have foreseen that the little trumpet would one day be seen as a symbol of the struggle - perceived or real - against imperialism.

We should not fool ourselves. The lines are quite clear. For the traditional football fans - read black and working class - talk about banning the instrument is taken as yet another attempt by non-fans - read white and middle to upper class - to impose themselves on what is seen as one of the few avenues of life over which blacks have, and have always had, any meaningful control.

It is also about Fifa deciding that the sensibilities of Europe are deserving of greater compassion than those of local Africans.

It is quite rich for European teams to complain about the noise the vuvuzela creates when they often try to out-sing supporters of rival clubs. The tag attached to London club Arsenal's former stadium, "Highbury the Library", was not meant as praise. It decried the lack of atmosphere created by the quietness of the fans.

Hosting the World Cup is as much a tribute to the efforts of the officials as it is of the fans. If Fifa would not ask English fans to sing a little more quietly when they host, it should leave us alone to blow our vuvuzela.


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