World Cup buzz: Vuvuzela survives attempted ban

5:43 AM, Jun 15, 2010   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- There was a brief effort Monday to ban the vuvuzela, the plastic horn responsible for the buzzing sound permeating World Cup soccer venues in South Africa. (If you've watched a game, you know what we're talking about.)

FIFA, the sport's governing body, considered silencing the noisemakers after everyone from players to TV viewers complained the sound was ruining their World Cup experience.

But by midday, FIFA ruled the vuvus can stay.

"I don't see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country," FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote on his Twitter page. "Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?"

The horns, which produce sounds that have been compared to huge swarms of bees, are a tradition in South Africa, the host of this year's global soccer championship. Many say they are (cheap, plastic) imitations of the animal horns African leaders used to blow to call people to meetings.

The plastic version sells for $6 at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis.

"The rhythm they have in Africa is very good," said Alfonso Zendejas, who sells soccer merchandise at the market, as well as Mercado Central on Lake Street. "It's a way to add ambience during the game."

Emily Dale, who was eating lunch near Zendejas' soccer stand -- where a KARE reporter may or may not have bought a vuvuzela and blown it loudly -- wasn't so sure.

"That was pretty annoying," she said.

Since the World Cup began, the vuvu has become as famous as some of the players trying to cope with its drone. The horn has its own Twitter page (at the time this article was written, the latest tweet was "BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ"), as well as a free downloadable mobile-phone application that allows fans who aren't seated next to a vuvuzela to be just as annoyed as fans who are.

"Oh my God, that's just terrible," said Sambou Ascofare, who was at Brit's Pub in Minneapolis watching Monday's Italy vs. Paraguay match. (A reporter from KARE may or may not have brought a vuvuzela to the room where Italian fans were watching the game.)

"Afwul."

But for now, the protests have been muted. FIFA said the vuvuzelas can stay, as long as fans agree not to blow them during national anthems at the beginning of each game.

That means the buzz surrounding this year's world soccer championship will only grow louder.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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