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South African Church Leader Defends Noisy Horns at World Cup

(RNS/ENInews) The captain of France’s national soccer team is said to have blamed noise from the “vuvuzela” for keeping his team awake at night and contributing to a poor match against Uruguay in the World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
But Tinyiko Maluleke, president of the South African Council of Churches, told Ecumenical News International that the three-foot noisy horns are forcing the world to wake up and acknowledge Africa’s past sufferings.
Nearly 85,000 people have logged on to a website,, to silence the horns during the World Cup; a little more than 9,000 want to keep them.
Soccer fans and players say the constant noise from the horns can cause hearing loss and makes the matches unwatchable, even on TV.
Coaches on the sidelines say the noise makes it difficult to communicate with players on the field.
“In the 19th century, white missionaries sided with colonials and gave blacks the Bible, while they took the land. Now, we have created the vuvuzela, which is one of the most obnoxious instruments: very noisy; very annoying. It will dominate the World Cup,” Maluleke said recently in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the 2010 World Missionary Conference.
“I see the vuvuzela as a symbol — as a symbol of Africa’s cry for acknowledgement.”
In an article published on his website, Maluleke said the horn resembles “in part, a modern trumpet and the `traditional’ animal horn used to announce and to summon.” South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper reported that the vuvuzela is common in churches in neighboring Botswana.
“The vuvuzela is a biblical instrument,” church member Jacqueline Chireshe told the newspaper. “It is a trumpet, and God expects us to blow the trumpet in offering praise to him.”
Maluleke noted the irony that white European audiences are now complaining about an instrument that’s popular in African culture, generations after some Christian missionaries had deprived blacks of their culture.
“We see it when Africans are embarrassed to be African in their own vernacular language, to relate to their culture positively: the schizophrenic relationship that Africans have to their traditions, their culture, and their religions,” he told Ecumenical News International.
— Trevor Grundy
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

  • nnmns

    It’s a fair trade. We gave them Bibles, they give us the noise from thousands of loud horns.

  • cmaglaughlin

    Nothing like obeying The Golden Rule!


    Great … here is an expression of Africa’s culture, a cry for recognition, we have suffered and are downtrodden, look at us! be aware! we’re obnoxious loud assholes!
    I think if you are looking for recognition on the world stage you want to steer away from being the loud obnoxious negro on the corner with the blasting boombox

  • cmaglaughlin

    @LARRY…do you install cable, too?

  • joanne

    I think the horns are terrible. I don’t care what they signify. I miss the singing of the crowds in the stands.

  • Garrett

    What we do first is what God does second… what we honor is what will be granted and blessed… Not one country as refused to play with all the noise, what we tolerate we can not change and will become the norm…
    If Africa wants to be obnoxious, it is their right… No matter what anyone does there, it will only promote the African’s narcissism… Let the games go on, but never return… the have no empahty towards the players of any team nor anyone else, it is all about them… this attitude will only promote their ignorance and show their lack of wisdom…
    A wise FIFA will think twice before holding the games in Africa again… if FIFA does not want to be selective, then better criteria needs to be placed not only for Africa but for all future gmaes… This World Cup will be used by other countries in the future as to what is obnoxious and not…
    A foolish FIFA will honor this obnoxious behaviour, here and everywhere…

  • Garrett

    to put it another way that any business can understand, most of us here tht do follow soccer have stopped watching the games end-to-end and for the most part only watch the games we favor, withtout the sound…
    What enters you, exits you — irritation limits exposure, revenue, and repeat business… irritaion can be controlled..

  • pagansister

    Bet ear plugs are at a premium!

  • kramesh

    I’m split between keeping the vuvuzelas and getting rid of them. As an ardent soccer player and fan, I do miss the chanting and the spirit of the supporters in the stands. But at the same time, the horns bring out the culture of Africa and its past.

  • jestrfyl

    Losing teams will always find some one or something to blame for their loss – except themselves. This is proving true especially in England, France, and italy.
    They have been selling these horns in the US for a very long time. The problem is not many people here can play them. As a tuba player I find this all very amusing. What a silly distraction these tubes of plastic have become.

  • Matt

    I watch every single game of the world cup. The horns don’t bother me. I’ve been to a game in Argentina and they bang on drums all game long. If the horns bother you that bad then you have thin skin.

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