What was the line from that song American Pie? Something about “the day the music died” as I recall. Well the music died after Uruguay’s second goal against Bafana Bafana last week. The neighbours had been blowing their vuvuzelas enthusiastically for at least an hour before kick off and carried on into the game. After the first goal the blowing became more frenetic but after the second goal against the boys, the plastic trumpets fell silent to be replaced by the sound of crying and wailing from next door.
My guess is that the vuvuzela is about to become a bit like a “Free Mandela” t-shirt became after his release from prison….viz. redundant. By the time you read this we will have either scored 5-0 against France and be through to the next round or we won’t have scored five nil and my guess is that we won’t. Which means that any unsold Bafana Bafana shirts, caps and branded yellow vuvuzelas are likely to remain unsold. Talk about a small window of opportunity. And what about all those SA flags people have on their cars? Maybe someone can provide a longer plastic flag pole to wedge between the rear window and the door frame so we can fly the national flag at half mast. That might make the original investment seem more worthwhile.
But it’s the vuvuzela’s that I am really interested in. Will the stadiums become vuvuzela free zones when Bafana Bafana are eliminated or have the world’s football fans taken the noisy instrument to their hearts? I’ve read a lot of nonsense in the foreign media about how the vuvuzela is related to the curved kudu horn that is blown by African tribespersons. Did you ever hear such rot? Look at the shape of the vuvuzela and you can see that it is a direct descendant of the English post horn which was originally made in a mixture of copper and brass. As with most things the vuvuzela is an English invention but one we might prefer not to take credit for.
The soon to be relegated to the back of the wardrobe vuvuzela may be about to become a painful reminder of our short flirtation with football fame but the good news is that someone had the business savvy to export tens of thousands of vuvuzelas to the UK before the demand dried up here at home. Sainsbury, the grocery supermarket chain, are selling them at two quid a pop and they sold something like 40,000 in the first few days. All of which has the English establishment in something of a panic. They have already been banned at Wimbledon and Ascot, Henley and Goodwood also don’t want them ruining a traditionally upper class summer sporting event. They will obviously be banned at hunts because they will confuse the hounds but they can’t really ban them at Wembley can they? After all, they are the modern equivalent of the famous football rattle. But here’s the rub. Remember what happened to the walls of Jericho when Joshua and the boys all blew their trumpets? And wasn’t Wembley stadium completed two years after deadline in an austere economic climate? Put the two together and I reckon there is a serious risk of a cheaply constructed Wembley stadium crumbling to the sound of ten thousand vuvuzelas. Which is almost certainly why the Dept of Health and Safety in the UK will ban them. For the public good of course.