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Vuvuzela or Lepatata

Updated on December 5, 2012
Map of South Africa
Map of South Africa
FIFA World Cup 2010 logo with South African flag
FIFA World Cup 2010 logo with South African flag
Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa
Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa
South Africa football team uniform
South Africa football team uniform
Blowing a vuvuzela
Blowing a vuvuzela

I find Vuvuzela a very difficult word to remember, so I have to first think of voodoo, Venezuela and then I have it!

The Vuvuzela, or stadium horn, is also called lepatata, which is its original Tswana name. It is not that easy to blow, as it requires some lip and lung strength, so the person must really know how to blow it.

A similar instrument, known as corneta, is also used in Brazil and other Latin American countries during football matches.


Many shopping malls in England are banning them and I guess I have to agree with them, as Vuvuzelas were not designed for indoor use, or confined spaces.

Soccer players, fans and broadcasters are complaining about the loud noise they make and they would like for them to be formally banned. FIFA World Cup organisers, however, are ruling out such action and reporters have been told that Vuvuzelas will not be banned from the stadiums.

The sound has been described as annoying and it has been compared it with a stampede of noisy elephants; a deafening swarm of locusts; a goat on the way to slaughter, or a giant hive full of very angry bees!

Vuvuzelas have been cited as a possible safety risk when spectators cannot hear evacuation announcements and it could also help spread colds and flu viruses on a greater scale than coughing or shouting. A London ear, nose and throat specialist was concerned about the level of noise Vuvuzelas emit, as it has been documented to be 127 decibels, although manufacturers have already come out with a new model that has a modified mouthpiece, which emits 20 decibels less.


The Vuvuzela was introduced to the world as something synonymous with South African football in 2004, when it was announced that the country would host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. When the decision was confirmed, the South Africa's sports and finance ministers led the chorus of Vuvuzelas in front of dignitaries and members of the media from around the world. They have now become synonymous with South Africa and they are a unique way of showing team spirit and support.

I watched the opening ceremony and it was very moving to see all those smiling young people, of all races and colors, happy seeing the opening of their country's 2010 World Cup. Their eagerness and excitement was contagious!

Over the past 15 years, the sight and sound of the instrument has evolved into an emblem of hope and unity for many South Africans. It has a rare energy and it is also a proud and permanent symbol of the country hosting the 2010 Football World Cup. When the games are over, people all over the world will just have to embrace the South African culture and their Vuvuzelas. Many visitors will probably buy them to take home and many will have also seen them on television every day, so I expect the Vuvuzela will soon be widespread.

"Vuvuzelas, drums and singing are part of the African football culture. It is part of their celebration and their culture, so let us all blow the Vuvuzelas now!


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    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      It is both fascinating and a pain. Imagine being in the crowd next to a host of spectators honking that horn.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      The vuvuzela is indeed the characteristic sound of soccer in South Africa. It has made the SWC here totally different from previous editions of the event.

      Don't love the sound myself, but had to acknowledge its value as an accompaniment to a soccer match.

      Thanks for sharing this info.

      Love and peace