Jun 15 2010

The vuvuzela is not African

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 11:16 AM

Now hear this: the plastic horn, which is making impossible communication between players on the football field at the World Cup, is a South African tradition – not an African one. In some many aspects of life,South Africa presents not the face of Africa but of an outlier, an exception, an unrepresentative non-tropical zone of contested African-ness. The case 0f the irritating vuvuzela is typical of how South Africa, despite the conceit that the country embodies African-ness and thus can pretend that its existential reality provides an African map in miniature, in reality provides a distorted image of tropical Africa. In the dozens of football games I’ve attended in East and West Africa, I’ve never heard the vuvuvela played – no less a chorus of them. Sepp Blatter, FIFI president, is wrong when he describes the vuvuzela as reflecting that “Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound.” Blatter may be correct in general about an Afro-beat, but the sound of Africa is not the vuvuzela. Not in Accra, or Lagos. Not in Kampala or Nairobi. Fans at matches in these cities cheer and jeer, but they don’t create auditory mayhem in a concerted manner, to their credit. Perhaps a World Cup ban on the vuvuzela is not necessary, but neither should “blame” for them be laid at the door of a “notional” Africa. The awful vuvuzela is a South African toy, and to South Africa should go the “credit” for for making a travesty of sporting spectatorship.

One Response to “The vuvuzela is not African”

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