Bad Plasticby 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?
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.
Photos by Nick Aldridge