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Bad Plastic

Bad Plastic

by Carlos Amato / 06.05.2009

Nobody likes a vuvuzela, except the fool who’s blowing one. When activated, the vuvuzela instantly shrivels the brain of its master, deploying exactly the same voodoo neuroscience used by a backpacker’s djembe. I know this because it’s happened to me several times: the instant that my lips touch yellow plastic, I become a power-drunk toddler, a fountain of idiotic id. When it’s your own creation, that half-witted whine is a rapturous salute to life’s beauty.

But it gets worse. The vuvuzela has recently spawned a spine-chilling infant: the babazela, a six-inch novelty whistle moulded in the sweatshops of Hell. Compared to its offspring, Papa Vuvuzela is as mellifluous as Mankunku’s horn. The babazela emits the wail of a five-month-old baby abandoned on a rubbish dump. If you hear a thousand such wails in a nearly-enclosed stadium, you just feel bad. You want go home and read Bill Bryson by the fireside.

Is this the aural treat we want to give the world at the World Cup? The nauseous keening of a million chopper-sized mosquitoes, backed by a mass choir of tormented infants?

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If I sound like a killjoy, it’s because this thing is killing my joy. I would petition Fifa to ban the vuvuzela, but they would never oblige, for fear of accusations of imperialist cultural insensitivity.

So it’s down to us. Every right-minded football fan can make a tiny but significant difference: by seizing the nearest vuvuzelist’s bugle, and giving him a vigorous Indian head massage, thus restoring electricity to his synapses.

And while the fool splutters and whimpers, fill the little niche of silence you have just created with a song. If you need ideas, listen to your nearest Bloemfontein Celtic fan.

Isn’t this the land that spawned Ladysmith Black Mambazo? We can sing, mos.
So let’s not be making a kak noise when everyone is listening.

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Photos by Nick Aldridge

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  1. biobot says:

    The problem with the zela is monotony. Some guys get a bit of rhythm going, but if there could be one with three or four notes then it would be a lot more endurable.

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  2. Carlos Amato says:

    Agreed. But the best we can hope for is endurability. I want goosebumpability!

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  3. Paul says:

    Its SIMPLE! Just buy one, and join in the fun! you only hate them if you aint got one!

    its African Football bud.. LIKE NO WHERE ELSE!!

    Viva The Vuvuzela VIVA!!!

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  4. Carlos Amato says:

    As a football reporter, I have to work amid the vvz racket, so I ain’t neutral. But I’ve also workedvery happily within point-blank range of the incredible singing of fans of Bloem Celtic fans, Mexico, England, Argentina, Italy, you name it. Not to mention the Brazilian percussionists and all the amazing vuvuzela-free African fans north of the border. Emzansi we only sing when we’re winning, and that’s why we don’t win so much. Seriously!

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  5. Mabusha Masekela says:

    Look – I hardly watch football – but it is an ever-present reality in SA – just like those damn vuvuzelas – and yeah I’m with thise who say at least i had some notes given the singing and melodic abilities in SA – yeah we’d have something going – not a lot of place where large groups of people fall into automatic harmonies – monotony has got to go – bring on that harmony!

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  6. Nick says:

    You lost me after “Nobody likes a vuvuzela.” They’re awesome and something else that is uniquely South African. Way to be unpatriotic 😛

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  7. Yangstr says:

    Haybo wats rong with a VUVUZELA?

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  8. Peter says:

    I am very, very happy that the WC is in South Africa! Excited, too – great country, rich culture and football – what more can you ask for?

    Then I watched the first match – and I heard the annoying vuvuzelas. It’s like a constant swarm of bees for 90 MINUTES. Although I am a huge football fan, I will think twice about watching the WC. Maybe I’ll start my own “tradition” and start shrieking at the top of my lungs every few seconds…I hope, no… I PREY that they ban them and burn every single vuvuzela and outlaw them, punishable by death.

    There, now you see how much frustration the stupid horns brings to an otherwise calm, cheerful and rational human being.

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  9. Bryan says:

    I could not agree with this post more. If FIFA is smart and is interested at all in money, they should either ban them or find some solution. I know for a fact that a significant amount of the viewing population will either want to watch with the sound off or just not watch. Personally I usually watch every possible game of the World Cup, like millions do, but with the vuvuzela’s I just want to rip my ears off. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do, but I know alot of people would rather just turn the TV off than hear those damn things. Possibly the most annoying sound I’ve ever heard in my life.

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  10. TimJ says:

    Dude, I agree with the mindless, un-practiced blowing of a Vuvuzela, it is irritating. BUT, BUT, BUT, when you have the skill to play the instrument well, and the crowd starts to play them together in response to one another it is a great experience.

    It is a different form of celebration of football than the sanitised European tradition of discussing the oppositions heritage and the nocturnal habits of their mothers / sisters through what you like to call song.

    I say keep the Vuvuzela but practice some more before 2010 – go to some local games, ask the guy leading the chorus to give you some tips.

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  11. rapperso says:

    if u wnt th world cup….dnt even think of banning th vuvuzela….ths is south africa ppl we push beyond boindries

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