June 18, 2010

African church leaders defend World Cup vuvuzela horn

by David Masters

Church leaders in South Africa have defended the vuvuzela stadium horn that has gained notoriety at the 2010 World Cup.

Dr Tinyiko Mauleke, president of the South African Council of Churches, said the horn is a “missile shaped weapon” and is forcing the world to hear African’s past sufferings.

He explained: “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 FIFA World Cup.

“I see the vuvuzela as a symbol, as a symbol of Africa‚Äôs cry for acknowledgement.”

Suffering as a result of colonialism is endemic in Africa, Mauleke said.

“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.”

The horn is a descendent of the ‘traditional’ animal horn.

“While it may not be huge improvement on the tonal dexterity of the prehistoric animal horn, it definitely delivers a lot more decibels – enough decibels to pierce the eardrum of a European man, woman or child.

“We know this because ‘expert researchers’ have found this out for us.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu defended the vuvuzela as culturally South African.

“The vuvuzela is part of our culture,” he said

“We cannot separate them from the soccer fever.”

Some church groups in South Africa consider the vuvuzela a religious instrument to be used on pilgrimages rather than to be blown at football matches.

The BBC has received over 500 complaints about the background noise of the horns in its broadcasts.

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