Vuvuzela to make a noise in Europe
Published 18/06/2010 | 13:16
The business brain behind the vuvuzela said he is preparing to make a big noise in the European market with his plastic horn.
Neil van Schalkwyk has partnered up with a German company and said he has received lots of requests from interested parties, including in the UK.
Mr van Schalkwyk described himself as the "innovator" of the instrument after starting production in 2001, when he produced just 500. He has now sold about half a million.
He came up with the idea as an U19 footballer when he scored a goal for South African team Santos. He ran across the pitch to celebrate and noticed a tin horn in the crowd.
There have been calls to ban the instrument from inside stadiums with broadcasters, players and some fans complaining about the incessant din.
But Mr van Schalkwyk said his new three-part design with a modified mouthpiece should appease some of the critics.
The vuvuzela will now fall apart if anybody tries to use it as a weapon and the sound level has been brought down from 140 decibels by 10%.
Mr van Schalkwyk, who believes he has a 25 per cent share of the market in South Africa and owns the copyright to the vuvuzela name, is also providing earplugs with the product.
He said players like Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who have complained about the noise, might not be so upset if they were performing to their true potential on the pitch.
His company employs 70 people in Cape Town with about 120 vendors around stadiums and fan parks, selling the vuvuzela for 30 rand (£2.70). He said he has sold about 500,000 since he began, turning over 6-7 million rand (£540,000 - £630,000) in total.