The Rise of the Vuvuzela

By SamGoma

Vuvuzela Madness

“PRP!, PRP!, PRP!, PRRRPP!”

AFCON 2013 is underway and SAFA is sitting on the table with her legs wide open, hoping the hospitality will make up for a poor show. Some recent match-fixing allegations haven’t made the best impression in the world of football and all involved are desperately trying to save a little face by hosting a successful tournament, one without silly incidents like terrorist shootouts and all that kak. Bafana obviously didn’t get the memo in time and were already reeling from an opening match draw, much to the disappointment of the rain drenched fans at Soccer City. There just seemed to be no sign of an end to the pain. No silver lining on the players’ boots, no light at the end of the stadium tunnel on their way to the change rooms. A 2-0 win over Angola rescued the team from what could have been yet another hard kick in the scrotum.

No one can understand what goes on in the mind of a die-hard Bafana supporter. Some of the public must obviously assume they’re masochists. “The Boys” inflict more pain on their fans than any other national side bar maybe England. Curious. Somehow the fans see things in a different light. Despite having endured major embarrassments, such as the failure to qualify for the 2012 AFCON tournament, a stubborn optimism refuses to die. Nowhere is this more evident than on match day, when the mob of fanatical Bafana junkies make their way to the stands, dragging their noise-makers along with them.

The history of the vuvuzela is hazy at best. Disputes over the rights have been fought over by a range of folk including, a savvy Kaizer Chiefs Fan, a plastics factory, and the Nazareth Baptist Church. And although the good Lord and Freddie Maake claim the horn as their own inventions, 2001 saw Masincedane Sport start producing the vuvuzela we know today. It spurred a collective interest in the mass of fans throughout the country and 2002 saw large percentages of the crowds in stadiums starting to make use of the instrument.

It has certainly courted its fair share of controversy over the last few years, and I might have some strange ideas in my head, but I ask, has anyone ever wondered if the sweet melody of the “vuvu” has affected Bafana’s performances on the international stage? No? Well why the fuck not?! 2002 was the year of the last World Cup that Bafana actually worked to qualify for. And it also happens to be the last time they managed to get past the group stages of the tournament they are presently hosting.

“PRP!, PRP!, PRRRP!, PRRPP!, PRP!, PRRRRPP!!”

If you look at the past 10 years it’s very obvious that a steady decline ensued after Bafana made an early exit from the 2002 spectacle. The 90′s were the golden years of SA soccer, but by the time the millennium came around, the lustre was fading and the structures in place were in need of divine intervention. It was the beginning of a downward spiral that would continue on into present memory.

The popularity of the vuvuzela grew over the decade, but the teams performances couldn’t be lifted by the supporters’ frantic blasts. In fact if you take a close look at Bafana’s statistics, you’ll find that from 2002, the time the team spent participating in tournaments got progressively shorter and shorter until qualification wasn’t guaranteed anymore. The AFCON results were particularly disappointing, failing to proceed from the group stages for three consecutive tournaments and eventually failing to make the cut entirely. It is worth taking note that since 2008, the competitions that have been graced with our presence, have only been so fortunate because we were hosting the damn things.

Through all this, you’ve never heard the drone of the vuvuzela at a match drop below an audible level. We can all agree that blowing SA’s favourite horn can be fun, like when you piss off that prick neighbour who just moved in, or damage a friend’s hearing by making a quick “PRRP!” right next to his head, just for a laugh! But when in the hands of an overzealous three-year old, or more importantly, an orchestra of crazed Bafana faithful, there comes that point when all the hooting and tooting becomes just too fucking much man. And I stand corrected, but I see more and more of the bloody things in the crowd than ever before! But I can’t direct blame at the fans, can I?

Maybe it was the untimely dismissal of Carlos Queiroz, and subsequent appointment of Jomo Sono, which triggered the ineptitude that was to follow. Igesund happens to be the 11th coach in the hot seat since Quieroz was shown the door. SAFA’s inability to distinguish between a coach and a quack has definitely hamstrung the sides efforts in years passed. Let’s be brutally honest here, a soccer loving nation of 52 million people should not be languishing, ranked somewhere in the 80’s. Currently the team is not even in the top 20 African teams. But we can be thankful the fat bastards in the boardroom don’t turn out on the pitch to represent us. Bafana Bafana are writing a new chapter in their history. They need only ensure they don’t get caught in the moment.

The final group stage match was a tense affair. “The Boys” battled courageously, and the deserved 2-2 draw against Morocco was enough to see South Africa onto roads less travelled. Gordon lgesund has helped guide South Africa into the next round of AFCON 2013, a feat not many people can lay claim to. No one deserves it more, than the fans whose lung busting efforts were for so long in vain. The team has finally broken their long running trend of being second best, and if the players keep showing as much passion as what the fans project from their instruments, maybe we will finally rise from the ashes and reclaim some footballing dignity.

“PPRRRRRRPPP!!”

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