Image from Vuvuzela Orchestra
Vuvuzela: a word (and sound) that has gone from being local to global in 24 hours. It's the plastic horn that produces the droning, buzzing sound in the background of the World Cup football matches. And you either love them, if you are South African, or hate them if you are the rest of the world. There have been pleas to ban them but World Cup organisers are asking fans to "please embrace our culture and the way we celebrate."
There are fears that they will become a staple of British games now as fans stuff them into their suitcases. But what to do with them when they break or are thrown away? Made out of plastic, they are an eco-disaster waiting to happen. But believe it or not, there are eco-friendly vuvuzelas made out of recycled glass that sound and look better.
Image from Obsidian Glass
The word may originate from the Zulu for "making noise", or from the "vuvu" sound it makes, or from township slang related to the word for "shower". Originally made of tin, the plastic vuvuzela is only nine years old. The ancestor of the vuvuzela is an instrument named Icilongo or Mhalamhala, traditionally made out of a kudu horn. The industry is worth £4.4M in South Africa and Europe now. And for those who find it ear piercing; the decibel level is the equivalent of 127 decibels; a drum is 122 decibels, and a referee's whistle is 121.8 decibels.
But there are eco-friendly alternatives. EcoStreet reports on a few. Made in Swaziland of 100% recycled glass, these horns are hand blown and shaped by a master glass blower. They are produced by the only glassblowing factory in Africa. Since the horns are glass, they produce a resonant sound. The glass can be decorated with team names and the instruments come in a beautiful beaded case which can be custom made in team colours.
Images from KELP
KELP stands for Kelp Environmental Learning Project. It is a small local factory, designed to promote environmental awareness and employs and trains local artists. The horns made from dried kelp gathered on the beaches. The kelp pieces are painted, using designs that are suited to the various shapes of the horns which may be a sea, floral or animal themed. The simplest, the football vuvuzelas, are decorated with stripes in the various club colours.
For those who can't get enough of the sound, there is a Vuvuzela Orchestra. Started by Pedro Espi-Sanchis in 2006, they play mainly African soccer and protest songs. They use customized instruments which have been adapted to play seven different notes. The seven vuvuzela instruments produce harmonies to accompany the fans in singing soccer songs.