Future toots assured for loved and hated vuvuzela

Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:12pm EDT
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By Alexandra Hudson

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Cursed as the "devil's trumpet" for their ear-piercing drone, vuvuzelas nonetheless sold in their hundreds of thousands and were embraced as a symbol of South Africa's World Cup and African soccer culture.

No previous World Cup has managed to define itself by a single object in quite the same way as fans have blasted vuvuzelas across the cities and townships of South Africa and from Buenos Aires to Berlin.

With the next World Cup due to be held in carnival and celebration-loving Brazil in 2014, many predict the vuvuzela's future is assured, although some other sports have already banned it from stadiums.

In South Africa's airports multiple plastic vuvuzelas protrude from the rucksacks and suitcases of departing fans and boxes and boxes of the horns are still stacked up at market stalls as fresh imitations arrive from China.

"The vuvuzela noise was crazy but I didn't buy these ones to blow, I'm taking them home as presents for my kids and as a memento," said 48-year old Dutch fan Andre Verhoef, waiting at Cape Town airport with two bright orange vuvuzelas poking out of his hand luggage.

Even if it appears in Brazil, whether the horn will ever sound with as much intensity and volume again is questionable.

Players said the buzzing made it impossible to communicate with each other on the pitch, stadium spectators worried about the damage to their hearing, and television viewers rued the lack of chanting and cheering which usually defines the ebb and flow of a match.

But the vuvuzela has a powerful defender. FIFA President Sepp Blatter rejected calls for them to be banned, saying they were a typical and loved feature of South African football.   Continued...

<p>A man blows a vuvuzela on the field and interrupts game play in the 2010 World Cup semi-final soccer match between Germany and Spain at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender</p>