As the host country South Africa have worked wonders in presenting their Rainbow Nation to the world. Stunning scenery, brilliant stadiums (all with better grass than Wembley), vivid colours, a joyous vibrant welcome all adding up to a sense of enormous pride and optimism of a country on the move.
Sadly, and this is true for all host countries, as we get into the sport itself ‘brand’ Africa starts losing out. Our screens are filled with images of the football where the inside of one stadium is much like any other and the ubiquitous pundits much as they are in any Match of the Day. The very ordinary England/USA game could have been anywhere.
This where the vuvuzela comes in!
It has been described as sounding like a lovesick elephant and at the opening cremony some 80,000 of them, at 127 decibels, were louder than a jet taking off. Ear plugs are being sold at stadium entrances, broadcasters have complained but FIFA, in a rare moment of good sense, have not banned them.
As one fan said “it represents our country, its what we’re about”. Or, as Dan McDougall in the Sunday Times put it “this cacophony of sound that has become the symbol of this World Cup”.
When the predictable pundits have finished being predictable and the last controversial football has been kicked, the sound of the vuvuzela will long remind us how this World Cup really was different.
Could pitches use sound to greater effect?