Vuvuzelas spark debate

FORMER QT sports writer Lee Gaskin admits to becoming more than a bit vuvu-zealous since touching down in South Africa for the World Cup.

The traditional African instrument – called the vuvuzela – has drawn plenty of criticism over the first week of the tournament – namely for being too loud and distracting players and fans watching at home on TV.

But Mr Gaskin, who has already been to games in Cape Town, Durban and Rustenburg, said those who were immersed in the passion and excitement of the World Cup were taking to the vuvuzela like lions to exhausted wildebeest.

“You can’t ban the vuvuzela,” he said after returning from a big night out in Johannesburg. “They are interesting things – certainly very loud and they make it hard to hear anything – but they give the whole tourna- ment a real African feel.”

Mr Gaskin, who now works for the Canberra Times, is Australian but was supporting New Zealand at Rustenburg earlier this week because his father is originally a Kiwi.

“I bought a vuvuzela for about $16 (Australian) at the New Zealand versus Slovakia game; it really adds to the atmosphere when your team is on the attack. The crowd went ballistic when the All Whites scored the equaliser in injury time.”

Any vuvu-zealots stuck in Ipswich for the World Cup will have to go online if they want to recreate the noisy South African atmosphere in their own home.

The QT put numerous inquiries to local retailers regarding the availability of vuvuzelas, most of which were greeted with mystified, far off looks. But there’s no shortage of vuvu-related fun to be had on the internet.

There’s even a site called vuvuzela-time.co.uk, which allows you to view any normal internet site with the added bonus of being able to hear a hundred thousand screaming vuvuzelas through your speakers.

On the other side of the equation, website banvuvuzela.com has started an online petition where 87,123 people have voted for the stadium horns to be banned from the World Cup.



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