Friday 19 January 2018

South Africa's sound of soccer

BEFORE the World Cup finals began in South Africa, few people in this neighbourhood had ever heard of vuvuzelas. By now, millions of Europeans, not to speak of Americans and Asians, wish they had never heard of them.

These trumpet-like instruments emit a sound that is at once monotonous, irritating and, infuriatingly, ceaseless. Throughout every match they drone on without a pause. The style of play seems never to change, except for increases in the decibel level at key moments.

One has to wonder how the players, exposed to its full force, bear it. No doubt they have learned stoicism from having had to endure worse things, like broken bones. But in terms of numbers the greatest sufferers are the viewers at home. They have found to their annoyance that if they reduce the vuvuzelas' volume they cannot hear the commentary.

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