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Yes Blaas!

Yes Blaas!

by Emma Nicholson, images by Kelly Berold / 28.06.2010

So England bombed out of the World Cup, again, and amongst all the bleating about “that goal” you can be sure some in the British press will try and shift the blame onto the plastic horn, that has become the symbol of this World Cup. The vuvuzela, God bless her sheer plastic simplicity. If this was a World Cup of Moaning, the British would be faultless. Hell they’d be so good the English public would actually support their own team. Even their star player Wayne Rooney, has got a reason to hate the vuvuzela. Apparently in the first week of the World Cup, the plastic flute got more Google searches than England’s premier striker. (What does that say about his form?) And man do the rest of his countrymen hate that thing.

Something made out of plastic hasn’t got this much press since Pam Anderson came to do panto here last year. Over water coolers, in the line at Sainsburys, under dripping umbrellas at the bus stop, all they can talk about is that incessant noise that makes their pubs sound like bee hives and is most definitely part of the reason their team couldn’t get it together to beat the USA, Algeria nor Germany (not of course because they’re shit at playing together as a team and their goalie lost concentration for a moment and has now been sentenced to persecution in the British press worthy of Josef Fritzl and past Big Brother contestants). Honestly if I get asked by one more person why South Africa can’t “sort it out” and ban “those ghastly trumpets” I may just start carrying one around with me to beat them over the head.

Someone actually said to me that it’s a pity the vuvuzelas drown out all other noise so the “locals” can’t sing because Africans love to sing at football matches. Now I’m no football expert (cue sound of anyone that knows me chortling in the background), but what I do know is as you channel surf the SABC, the quickest way to identify a local match is by the hum of vuvuzelas accompanying it, not a chorus of “who ate all the pies”. If you’d like South Africans to get the chance to support football like we usually do, then let us trumpet on.

The thing about the British is they often don’t see the bigger picture, they’re too busy listening for the smaller details. This is an AFRICAN world cup so it will be celebrated in an AFRICAN way. We may not be as slick as Korea and Japan or as regimented as Germany, we may not do things in the same way as the UK, in fact we proudly don’t. Africa is noisy and messy and chaotic and beautiful and that’s how we support Bafana Bafana. That seething crowd of colour creating that noise is only doing it to show their pride in their team, their country and their continent. After all the British are in no position to lecture anybody on how to support their team. Even before they got taught a lesson in counter-attacking by ze Germans, I heard many an Englishman and woman complain about how their team will never win, despite their 8th place Fifa ranking and a squad including players like Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard. South Africans on the other hand really believed their team could do it, even if it was a statistical impossibility and instead we suffered the ignominy of being the first World Cup hosts to exit in the first round. Who cares? We’re only ranked 83rd by Fifa, we’ll blast those vuvuzelas right to the last whistle. They can take back their trophy but they can never take our ayoba!

So to any Brits reading out there, before you write another letter to the BBC or complain to old Gezza next door over a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit, maybe take a step back and realise this World Cup is bigger than your overpaid players and your need for everything to sound like it’s happening at Wembley.

And if you can’t do that at the very least learn to pronounce it properly.


It’s not hard and you may as well try because it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. But apparently you are.

*All images © Kelly Berold.

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  1. Gregg says:

    Hahaha nice article. While traveling through Heathrow en-route to Canada with a Vuvuzela tucked under my arm the lady at the ticket counter actually said

    “I can’t believe that we donate two pound a month to feed starving africans and all they do is spend it on a noisy plastic trumpet”

    The funny thing is with over a million vuvuzelas already sold in Europe, the future of football in the UK is going to sound quite similar to the current world cup so they best learn to like it 🙂

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  2. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz says:

    You’re just revealing your own prejudices towards the Brits.

    Take a look at any of the Latin language online newspapers or get someone who speaks spanish, french, etc to do it for you and you will quickly realise that the Brit criticism is actually polite.

    But then again, admitting that the rest of the world is having a go at the vuvus would mean you wouldn’t be able to write this article.

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  3. Jersey Pot says:

    So that’s what Africa had to offer the world then, huh? Ear-damage, childish amusement, the drone of wasps, little plastic funnels: the vuvuzela. Yeah, I’m sure Britain is real hurt by your words. And you’re quite right to have a go at their team ‘bombing out’, because South Africa is doing just great, they’re going to be in the finals.

    Wake up, Africa. You are an amusement park for the first world. You are needed for nothing more than exploitation. You are a poor and diseased and corrupt and backward and debt-ridden and superstitious and undereducated … so have a go at England all you want. We don’t care. It’s all about the power dynamics – we let the worse off have a go without reprisal. Shallow are words from those who starve.

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  4. Andy says:

    Oi Jersey Pot-Stirrer… you’re relentless. Surely you’re just trying to get a rise with your vitriol

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  5. G says:

    Thanks for that, Jersey Pot. You must be very popular. If you’re so high and mighty, what may I ask, are you doing trawling such a lowly “third-world” site? Twat. Yet another ignorant (probably wannabe, I reckon you’re a Saffa anyway) first-world fool.

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  6. Angela says:

    BWHAHAHA @ Jersey Pot.

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  7. Andi says:

    Is that a vuvuzela in my pocket, or am I just happy to see you…

    Viva dirty Africa…

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  8. VIVA VUVU! says:

    What kinda name is Jersey-Pot anyway?! …Sounds like a frustrated pot-head who’s always wearing a jersey because he’s never had to enjoy the summer sun! Anyway,I wouldn’t be surprised if the same sly pommies actually turned around and stole the VUVU from africa,modify it and with;a BIG-POOR-DENTAL-SMILE present it to the world as their own invention.But then again,that would be anything new,it wouldn’t be the first thing would’ve stolen from africa.But hey,AS LONG AS IT HELPS YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT!

    May the Queen choke on those strawberries and whipped-cream while watching wimbeldon on her TELE!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Bit rough on the poms.
    Whilst they have have done bad, and lots of it…they have also a given the world most of what it has. Not bad for such a small nation. Proves. Quality and not quantity. Their hands shaped South Africa for better or for worse. Without them most of our infrastructure we now enjoy would not exist. Thanks to the brilliance of Jan Smuts we were able to benefit from their experience and build South Africa into a global powerhouse. It is stupid to denounce them in entirety as most of poverty factory Africa does.

    I am happy ze germans showed them how to play and can’t stand those “south african’s” still loyal to the queen but they do deserve thanks.

    I’m surprised Mahala allows this pommy bashing…after all….they did kill half the boer’s child population in the 1900’s….then again…I suppose this type of adversity just made our nation stronger.

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  10. Roger Young says:

    Jan Van Riebeek was English! The Government has covered up another lie!!!!!!!!

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  11. Jersey Pot says:

    I love all the little Mahala-readers having a go at my handle and asking, “is she popular”?

    Thanks Africa.

    But seriously, though. You know I’m right. We’ll just keep coming and using you like a whore, pointing at the funny animals on safari rides, while your leaders sell you down the river for more money more money more money.

    South Africa is awesome. It’s awesome like AIDS and hijackings and murder and corrective rape and toilets without enclosures and taxis and apartheid and racism and unemployment and tik and overflowing prisons and potato-headed presidents and xenophobia. Most of all, it’s awesome like ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ and ‘positive thinking’ while you’re getting shat on.

    Thanks Africa!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Somebody swallowed a bitter pill. I strongly recommend some sun. It does a world of good. It cures stupidity too.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    @ Roger

    Relevence to your inane comment? I don’t think I said or even insinuated that the English discovered South Africa.

    Maybe refer to the many historical scripts available to clear up the authenticity of my facts…oh wait…you work for Mahala who believe only in the value of oral history and the tales of pre-colonial African cities and the vast libraries of awesomeness…

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  14. K says:

    Ok I co-sign on the ignorance of some of the English press towards the vu-vu-ze-la and the arrogance and false sense of entitlement some English people carry around with them, however:
    i. Britain and England are two distinct things, not synonymous. The Scots can be quite humble and friendly lot, and some hate all things English, esp during this World Cup and would sooner support the Germans over England.
    ii. Don’t worry the vu-vu-ze-la is not being blamed for the team’s failure, it’s the Italian coach (with a slight tinge of xenophobia) and the so-called Golden Generation (i.e overpaid players). Surf the English papers and you’ll see Fabio Capello being crucified rather than an acceptance of England’s mediocrity as a football team. World-class Rooney is not, Nike better re-write the future (in the advert) with Messi or Kaka and Rooney in the caravan!

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  15. G says:

    @Jersey Pot: Who said “is she popular”? Me thinks some requires some reading lessons. And a snotklap. Child.

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  16. G says:

    some=someone. a spoon of my own medicine then 😉

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  17. Jersey Pot says:

    Okay, G, well you’ve kicked your own ass with your petty reading lessons retort, so thanks.

    Anyway, you were the one sarcastically intoning: “you must be very popular.” As if my imagined popularity has anything to do with what I write.

    I do love the African language, though. It’s so sexy. When I hear a knife-wielding native purring ‘makwerekwere’, with his shirt hanging open exposing the xylophone of his ribs, well, I’ve got to tell you I just flood down there.

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  18. G says:

    Snotklap is more European than “African”, my friend. But again, I think you’re just a Saffa that can’t remove the Queen’s dick from his/her mouth. And yet again, your mere presence here is indicative of how much you love us all; you just can’t pull pale eyes away.

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  19. Jersey Pot says:

    The Queen? What have I said that suggests I’m a monarchist? And, my presence isn’t indicative of my love you – that’s faulty logic (of course, logic has it roots in the west: back in the village, you tribal types probably prefer your muti and superstition). My presence here suggests something of a rubbernecker sadism. I get off on the periodic and tonally desperate pleas of self-defence that come from you South Africans. Have some lovely AIDS. Zuma likes that.

    G, as I once heard Samuel L. Jackson say, “your ass is grass.”

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  20. Tammy says:

    Fabulous article, very glad you’re sister directed me here! You write fantastically! I look forward to reading more!

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  21. Kirsty says:

    Great article and photographs!

    Shame, somehow I actually feel sorry for Jersey-Pot.
    How dreadful to have such a negative, ignorant, narrow-minded perspective of a country who are trying so hard and have come so far, and now have the chance to unite themselves in positivity from hosting a world cup event.

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  22. G says:

    You said, “…have a go at England all you want. We don’t care”. Whether you’re a monarchist or not is beside the point. I couldn’t give a fuck what your political views are. It seems memory is not a strong point with this one. Again, when you’re trying to cover up the fact that you’re just a pissed off Saffa, Queen’s cock in mouth, it’s hard to keep track of it all. I understand. Anyway, run along now little one. Back to the playpen with you.

    As I once heard Samuel L. Jackson say, “Pigs are filthy animals.”

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  23. Jules Winnfield says:

    Normally, both your a*ses would be dead as f*cking fried chicken, but you happen to pull this sh*t while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you.

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  24. Jules Winnfield says:

    Nobody’s gonna hurt anybody. We’re gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what’s Fonzie like?

    Correctamundo. And that’s what we’re gonna be. We’re gonna be cool.

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  25. Lisa says:

    And on another subject altogether, a friend heard someone on the BBC refer to the plastic instrument as the ‘va-voo-zi-lla”. Silly, but it had me laughing all sunday.

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  26. Jules Winnfield says:

    Mmm-mmmm. Eish. Thet iz eh testy begga….eh chizz begga.

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  27. Tom Wood says:

    Actually, the vuvuzela has not been mentioned even once in relation to England’s defeat. Sensibly, they are blaming the players and the coach. The British press has been almost unanimously positive about SA.

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  28. Matt says:

    The BBC has received 430 complaints about the Vuvuzela sound in the stadiums, but Sainsburys sold out of 50 000 Vuvuzelas in the first week. This article only serves to represent the minority of British people as being the majority. Let it go. The Vuvuzela may be annoying to some, but it is loved by many.

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  29. jersey pot makes me laugh says:

    You dont know much. you read newspapers and what the western world like to publish about africa. thats if your not a saffa. anyway. this word war is ridiculous. you have a big mouth on a small face sunshine. besides, your idea of knowledge is western so we dont expect you to understand africa. wish i could see you in person and discuss africa for a while. but i suppose you are far away on your island. then again, arguments with ignorant people are pretty hard. i lived in london for 2 years and i must say, you brits have a very flattering accent yourself. somehow the “t” in your british lexicon disappeared. wa’eh. it sounds more primordial than africa at the best of times. id like to hear one positive thing from you about africa.

    “of course, logic has it roots in the west: back in the village, you tribal types probably prefer your muti and superstition” …. now that just depicts your lack of knowledge. dont exploit yourself like that. its rather embarrassing. its funny how intellects of your “western world” look for inspiration in africa…such as Rem Koolhaas….oh but i dont suppose you know who that might be?

    oh. just wanted to say i had a lot of fun in london exploiting your clever first world system..taking your english women and your beloved pounds.

    as a brit once told me : “oi bruv,revenge is a dish best served cold”

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  30. jersey pot makes me laugh says:

    oh im sorry. i dont intend on insulting you. i retract my words. please dont pretend to know how africa work though but i guess that is what the first world like to do. you gave us many great things which we are grateful for…like the english language.the metric system. thanks for enslaving the world for your tea fix.thanks for the Rhodes Scholarship,thanks for having South Africa’s biggest diamond on the queen’s crown.thanks for inventing the gibbet. thanks for inventing child labour and slums. thanks for subsidizing and encouraging slave trade. oh and the machine gun and gunning down defenseless africans and then filling your museums with stolen treasures. Thanks for taking saartjie baartman to entertain your dull minds. oh and thanks for inventing the concentration camp and finally thanks for football. we love it. and in return we give you the vuvuzela. eish bra, revenge is n fokken koue dis.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    There will lots of cold dishes on the continent when the west decides to tie the purse strings…

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  32. Dennis says:

    Great article,

    Pity few brits who read it will bother to understand and accept it’s meaning. You can’t humble a nation with their dominating history. Not just yet.


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