CAPE TOWN — You either love them or you hate them and the vuvuzela is stirring up some impassioned debate on Facebook, YouTube and other sites online.
The one-metre long plastic trumpet is as essential an item to South African fans as getting decked out in the national colours or painting one’s face and they have been out in force in the opening days of the tournament.
Eighty thousand of them being blown at full volume sounds like a swarm of angry bees buzzing in your ear, or, as one newspaper put it, an elephant in distress.
It is a tuneless din that takes getting used to, and they are not just being blown at stadiums, but in hotel lobbies, in shopping malls, and on the streets.
“It’s our way to motivate players, to express happiness and how do you feel in the stadium,” said 23-year-old Sazi Mhlwatika as he shopped in Johannesburg.
“We are used to them and you can’t enjoy the game without vuvuzelas. If there’s no vuvuzelas, there is no game. It’s just a traditional thing in South Africa. Abroad, they sing from the first minute to the end, here we blow vuvuzelas from the beginning to the end.”