Soweto, South Africa – It was quite simply one of the loudest and most colorful starts to a football match, but the players and the pitch were nowhere to be seen -– except on a giant TV screen.
More than 20,000 fans dressed in yellow and green descended on Soweto’s Elkah Stadium to witness the start of Africa’s first ever World Cup.
Crowds started to gather hours before the match eager to soak up the atmosphere, which could easily be summed up in one word: loud.
Actually two words: unbelievably loud. It was so loud you actually had to shout at the person standing next to you to make yourself heard.
Perhaps it was the live bands, or maybe the screaming fans. But I’ve been to football matches and been blasted by speakers at live concerts before. That was just a gentle background soundtrack compared with the deafening noise of tens of thousands of vuvuzelas being relentlessly blown by the excited crowd.
The scene was as colorful as it was loud. The fans were dancing and waving flags. They were wearing wigs and hats, their faces painted in the yellow and green of Bafana Bafana.
As kick off approached the tension reached fever pitch, the national anthem greeted by a huge roar as the crowds watched their heroes line up on the giant TV screen.
Every save was cheered as the South Africans soaked up Mexican pressure in the tense first half. The two teams were understandably nervous, and for a moment I could actually hear myself think. This was a welcome break: for most of the day Robyn Curnow, the correspondent, cameraman Chevan Rayson, the engineer Jason Heap and I simply couldn’t hear anything on the phone and we couldn’t hear CNN’s output in our ears. More often than not we had to use an elaborate system of hand signals to give poor Robyn her cue to talk.
But the excitement on the pitch was soon to follow in an exhilarating second half. The home team scored the opening goal of the tournament –- and what a goal it was. A spectacular strike which was no less than the fans and the competition deserved, such has been the excitement here.
The crowd went wild with celebration, running in different directions, jumping, screaming and blowing their vuvuzelas for all they were worth. Luckily we were in the crowd shooting some colour pictures and Chevan was well placed to record the moment.
Mexico eventually scored an equalizer but even that wasn’t enough to dampen spirits or put a lid on the noise.
As the match ended the crowds drifted away. Some stayed to enjoy the music but it’s winter here and watching football on a big screen in the cold and dark was not an option for most of the residents of Soweto.
I hope this tournament will be remembered for great football, and that the carnival atmosphere continues all the way to the final. But one thing’s for sure –- South Africa 2010 will be remembered for the noise.
Loud and annoying . On TV it sounds like a swarm of angry yellow jackets. Incessant, loud and extremely annoying, forcing me to watch the game with the sound turned off. Disgusting.
RESPECT the vuvuzela... it is NOT noise... that is disrespect... it is a cultural symbol of celebration!
100 years from now when people will watch special goals from this world cup, they will know it was in South Africa.
Because of Vuvuzela's unique noise.
Down with the haters, its the same with drums in Laliga and annoying pop-ish singing in England/Scotland.
More noise, South Africa, blow'em harder.
No one will remember the noise but the vuvuzela rule!
The Vuvuzelas are VERY annoying and should be forbidden.
You got to love South Africans hahaha !!!!
South Africans are LOUD anyway. One thing I do miss about home. Life is lived to the full there. The relatively recent arrival of vuvuzelas into the cultural matrix of the country has only made an already loud culture that bit louder...
I do hope foreign visitors to South Africa will look past the irritant that the vuvuzelas can be and appreciate what they are seeing – a society enjoying a spectacular world cup and being unfailingly welcoming and hospitable to their foreign visitors...
And what a beautiful noise it was! As i stood in the crowd surrounded by my fellow countrymen, i never felt more proud.
My only question: will my medical insurance pay for my inevitable hearing aid :)
We are just good noice makers.......Viva South Africa Viva!!!!
This sport is unwatchable on TV for me as those idiotic vuvuzela's blow nonstop and give me a migraine. What is the point of those stupid things.
Its beautiful when its colorful, its not a noise, its a rejoice. Thats what africa is well known for, we Celebrates, we Jubilate. we Entertain.
yes, too loud.
Many people are complaining about the vuvuzelas ruining their World Cup experience. I agree. They should be banned. They are annoying.
Ban it now! The mindless noise is killing the feel of the tournament dead. Could anyone hear the english fans sing? I sure couldn't and that's the main reason I watch England games...
It's a plot. They know how irritating it is, and by playing it all the time they hope the opposing team will be distracted and lose. Since the South African team is already used to the noise, they'll be able to win this way. How clever! (LOL!) :P
I definitely do not like hearing the Hum when watching the match. That is just plain ridiculous. I can imagine what the noise is doing to those people's ears!
It depends on the visitors and attendants of this event.
it´s just amezing
I wouldn't say it is the most colorful but the most noisiest.
I enjoyed reading your article very much my man, laughed all the way.
I appreciate that a lot of this is probably new and fascinating to you but you've presented it all with respect for your hosts and chosen to take it as it is.
I wish all your colleagues could read your article, and maybe learn from you.
Stop moaning! – if you dont know/understand the excitement of soccer South African style – then send out someone who does!!.....or grab yourself a vuvuzela, blow it and get some spirit going!!
Well, the FIFA representative for South Africa has just said that they are considering banning the vuvuzelas inside the stadiums.
A lot of players, including France's Evra and Argentina's Messi have complained that with the constant noise it's impossible to communicate with your teammates and it's very annoying.
I'm all for celebrating and having fun, but if the sport has to suffer I think it would be best to ban the vuvuzelas at least inside the stadium.
It's that incessant blasted noise which caused me not to buy tickets for the games – and never mind the spittle that flies. Ugh. I really hope they ban them for the rest of the matches – maybe I'll watch then. Remember, it's the WORLD cup, not the South African cup. There are billions of international viewers who are getting peeved off by the noise.
Too noisy, another question why is the ball changed before the world cup and not after so people can get used it.
i agree, it's really the noisest world cup ever. It's ok to have some horns but the opening game and the opening ceremony was completely overwhelmed by the noise.
Although we all appreciate and respects each country's way of celebration, there is a limit to the amount of horning that one can take. If we at home are already feeling so pissed, I can't imagine what it must be like for the players! It would definitely affect their game and put the home team at an unfair advantage.
Ban them, they are a health risk noise and spittle and they add absolutely nothing to the atmosphere inside the stadium.
It is impossible to enjoy the football with this hideous racket constantly blaring out the of the television. Fifa needs to ban the vuvuzela immediately, or it will be impossible to watch any more matches.
go swim in the middle of the ocean,vuvuzela is going nowhere, just because it is not invented by Europeans or whoeva outside Africa you despise it.....
we never tell you how to celebrate when WC it was in your countries, can you just let South Africa do it their own way without undermining.
its too noisy i put tv on mute, cant enjoy watching the world cup. ruined my new LED tv and sound systems experience.
its like i'm surrounded by bees circling over my head. very irritating and annoying.
Why can't people from the Global North accept others the way they are and how they do things? The reality is that this wudn't be a South African WC without the vuvuzela. It's not like as ppl from the South we appreciate everything that you do in your countries when you are the hosts of the WC or any other event but @ least we accept it.
Grow up & stop moaning...geezzzz!!!! This WC is in SA...
How come FIFA couldn't prohibit the host country not only for the noise but also for safety concerns? Is it a kind of blunder for the sake of its players? The world is wondering!
Guys, I understand your complaints and I am not a huge fan of the vuvuzela, and I'm South African. But let me let you on a little secret, it is the tourists blowing those things just as much as the locals. If you were here I promise you you would have one in your hand blowing like crazy...
THere were Americans and English going into the stadiums blowing those things like mad! You get wrapped up in the fever here and before you know it you doing things you wouldn't dream of!!
i like the noisy vuvuzela for world cup,viva South Africa,even now Korean we are starting to play vuvuzela here in Korea since we won yesterday match against Greece,so funny vuvuzela,lol!
As is already said this is a world cup not a South African cup ban the vuvuzela its already ruined the world cup for too many people. Its called respect for others.
This is our world cup and it will only get louder and brighter, so enjoy it or buy ear plugs
Man why would you come into my house and then try to tell me that you don't like my music or my food.
Maybe you get away with that in Europe or the USA but you are in my hood now boy and if you notice no hooligans or violance just happy smiling loud Africans, not Afrikaneers
It is certainly noisy but it also contributes significantly to the high spirit in the games. This is like the 12th man for South Africa. I would urge my country (ITALY) to adopt the same!!!
We 2 totally agree 1000% with Mark, Derek, Mel, troybal, Casandra, Jane, Johnd, Darian and Sultan. We hope Felix is correct. We are not watching any more unless the noise stops. We are with Sultan on that.
You don't have to like South Africa, just make peace, and if you can spend less time complaining, you might enjoy the world cup and the vuvuzelas.
We are not watching anymore because of the noise
Hey guys, I will blow my vuvuzela till the last match, in my country we blow the vuvuzela sound to celebrate the match, some fan sing with bad voices and here we blow to cheer the match... enjoy the games and join the fun... it's a rainbow nation and all races here support the vuvuzelas.
Don't have on the vuvuzelas. IF the South African culture is not more defined than annoying plastic horn let them have their moment of fame. This is why Africa will NEVER host another major event though. It's a joke. The have ruined the beautiful chants and music by the crowds. Thank you South Africa, you have ruined the World Cup.
Vuvuzela is an enjoyment when it comes to soccer match in SA. For those complaining, join the fun as we don't complain about your noise of fun... we all here to celebrate and share the fun of the games. In God we trust and in football we celebrate.
Hey, guys, i really understand the feeling, i use to watch South African league, but stopped when the league became characterized with bee sound. i was so disgusted when they started the bee thing at the confederations cup, since then, all other African countries have been appealing to FIFA to simply arrest anyone found with that bubuzela (i call it bee-bee zela). Suprisingly, FIFA's Sepp Blatter admired the song, but now that millions of people are complaining, i hope he will change his mind.
Wow, the south africans really get offended when the vuvuzelas get bashed on judging from the posts here. I even saw a nice little example of black-on-white racism there in Ndini mottos post.
Anyways, the vuvuzela ruins all emotion that a massive crowd creates in an arena, it has no connection to the events in the game what so ever.
Let me explain the different moods of the vuvuzela:
Brilliant save: bzzzzzzzzzmmmmmmmmm
Penalty kick judged: bzzzzzzzzzmmmmmmmmm
Conclusion: lighten up guys, us football (yes, football) supporters don't care if the vuvuzela is in the hands of a black african, korean, american or a goat. It's not about your culture, its about the noise! and you really should respect the audience, we are your guests all around the world for a month, and i'm thinking the hosts usually show respect.
Daniel from Sweden
I am South African and live in Durban. Here we have visitors blowing those vuvuzelas just as loud as any South African and eating local food with much appreciation. I am sick of anybody not South African complaining about us and our noise.
If an American journalist can't deal with the noise, send somebody who can. Christian Amanpour comes to mind. If she could go to the most dangerous places in the world, I am sure she would be able to handle the vuvuzelas!
Viva vuvuzela, viva!
you are all sounding like sad negative armchair fans, if it was drums or english fans chanting songs it would be fine, go whine somewhere else....this is africa (ps no lions roaming in the street), something new.
Oh (the Vuvulzela) is also a great funnel for downing beer...get a life or go to mute,or better still watch something else.
This event is said to have a "carnival atmosphere." CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE = NOISE... PARTY POOPERS GO HOME! (BTW-this "noise" is common at matches in other parts of the world).
I think that most people who are complaining about the vuvuzela, seem to forget that the World Cup is being held in South Africa and traditionally that is how they celebrate during the games. It adds atmosphere and makes the grand occasion more festive.To all who chose to celebrate in this manner . Blow On.
Vuvuzelas? BAN THEM!
Lawnmowers on Sundays? BAN THEM!
Dogs barking? BAN THEM!
Annoying pictures of African poverty? BAN THEM!
guys, it's not about S. Africa or about being against culture... it's just about asking for our beloved World Cup's spirit to be back... maybe it's enjoyable inside the stadium... but remember, the poor people back home supporting their countries are really missing the enjoyment and atmosphere of the games... so please do not take it personal...
Well people should realize that this world cup is being played in Africa and they have their own way of cerebrating. The world cup 2010 was given to South Africa to host, so whining over the vuvuzela will make you not to enjoy the world cup. This is African world cup and thats what Mr Blatter called it in his open speech, so give Africa a break let them do their thing cause the nagging over the vuvuzelas is becoming boring. I hope the hate for the Vuvuzelas doesn't have anything to do with where and who it came from. If the noise of a world cup being played in Africa is too noisy for you, would you rather prefer hooliganism, and violence? If the noise is too much for you hit the button MUTE and your problem will be solved. HOST of an invent or occasion is the BOSS . The jabulani ball is doing more damage to the world cup than the Vuvuzelas? I prefer the vuvuzelas noise to violence any day.
The Vuvuzela is an African symbol of expression, whereby users express their excitement, as other countries enjoy singing, or doing the Mexican wave, or whatever the case might be. Earplugs are available at the stadiums and caution have gone out for people not to share vuvuzelas as you might contract someone else's flu virus. Besides this it's Africa's turn to celebrate in African style. If we get the reputation for the noisiest world cup hosting country then we at least win the spirit contest in that sense. We embrace freedom of expression and regard it very highly, therefore we advise those attending live matches to obtain your earplugs from the gates as you enter the stadiums, as no FIFA representative or law will prevent the voice of the vuvuzela to make itself heard!!
Who cares if you don't look at the World Cup. You are only hurting your selves. This is a crowd full of fun and in high spirit enjoying the game. I totally agree with Richards, the tourist blow it themselves. The excitment is contagious. Every country does have fun their own way.
Loud? What's a football game without the roars?
Colourful? Well, if you have 30+ teams playing SA and you have millions of fans dressed in their favored jerseys then obviously it's going to be colorful. But CNN, your questions are kind of irrelevant. Don't you think?
The WC is in SA and needs to be done the SA way. I say more and more colors and more and more vuvuzelas!!!! Great show sofar.. I think it has been the best WC ever. Only wish an African team wins the whole thing. Go Africa!!!!
Am in South Africa at the moment and what people dont realise is that vuvuzelas are part of the football culture in South Africa and all fans from around the world join in blowing the vuvuzelas as well, so stop complaining
the vuvuzela is an important landmark in the soccer extravaganza. let the fans enjoy themselves. apologies for the few inconvenienced lot but majority of us do not mind the noise at all.
annoying yes but after about 10 minutes into the first game I had tuned it out. ITs all part of the excitment. Its only the group stages anyway I would bet it will drop off in the higher rounds and the novelty wears off
Have we let the game become so commercialised that we're going to let TV viewers sitting miles away dictate what we can do at the stadiums?
Love it or hate it, it definitely adds character. It's not just us South Africans blowing loud, its everyone!
sounds like mosquitoes buzzing.... too loud, must be controlled, if not possible then ban.
I think it is a part of the spirit.. It is the fault of all the TV engineers that they cant screen the noise out! Its SA's moment, their WC, let them enjoy it the way they want to! And Im so sure there are soo many tourists blowing those things.. And im so sorry that world's "best player" messi is unable to concentrate, some others are able to adopt themselves to the environment..
I thought my Tv was broken when i first heard that horrible humm, when i found out it was man made and on purpose i was shocked... WORST world cup ever... impossible to watch with sound... kills the mood and replaces it with monotone hummm.. how that could be festive is beyond me.. South Africa should have more respect for its guest and the millions watching and ban that awful piece of plastic crap.
Its not South Africas world cup as some idiot defenders of the vuvuhell has said. Its WORLD cup.. its just HOSTED by South Africa.
I was looking forward to the World Cup for months. Having never heard of the vuvuzela i could not imagine such an idiotic device could exist.
Now i cannot watch the games since the constant buuuhh drowns out all crowd reactions and songs, makes it impossible to concentrate and will eventually give you a headache.
The sound is unberable and not festive at all.. its sounds like a billion bees trying to buuuh out the game. Why dont you just put up a 100 foot dental drill and let it rip... it would be soothing after the vuvuzelas!
I can't stand the noise of the vuvuzelas over the TV, it is very annoying I can't stand to watch the game without a break from it or I get a headache. I actually mute my TV every so often. The noise over the TV is very irritating! I wonder what it is doing to the players ability to concentrate and focus. Singing like the English is much more pleasant and I think much more motivating. When the English sing the team reacts in a positive manner and it shows. I am not a fan of England but I do admire how English support their teams. Their singing is incredible except this last game couldn't even hear them on the account of the very annoying noise of the vuvuzelas.
Vuvuzelas are a tradition at football matches in South Africa... it's their World Cup and they should not be banned... I'm annoyed by the way Argentina's fans "sing" during their matches but I don't dare to say their singing should be banned!!! They can do as much noise as they want! Period!
I think the people of South Africa have been great in every aspect of hosting the World Cup except for the noise from the constant blowing of the vuvuzela which is testing my and many others patience. I respect the fact that it is the local way of intimidating other teams but when listened to from afar it is extremely annoying and spoils an otherwise great experience.If it was limited to African teams I wouldn't mind as that may be the norm for them and it seems fair as they are used to it. When I invite someone into my house I would consider their experience before my own.
I like the noise becasue it is their tradition and it has meaning and it a proad moment for the South Affricans. The are the host of the WC so they have the right to celebrate what ever way they like. You have got to enjoy the enviroment and keep your eyes on the field or on the screen.
We as South Africans have been blowing vuvuzelas for years now and is a part of our soccer culture and the world new that even before the confederations cup; so the world was prepared and i dare any country to try and beat our record for the loudest world cup; remember; we are not watching cricket its soccer man; soccer will never be the same again !!!! viva South Africa Ayoba!!!
The Vuvuzelas indeed has been very irritating. Soccer is fun because of the singing and the upbeat fans make throughout the match. My 2010 World Cup as I watch in Japan is one with my T.V volume set to the minimal. It's not fun watching this way but the play can't be ignored. It is truly the best in the world.
It is hard to listen to the games on TV because of the noise so I think it would be impossible to sit there in the stadium listening to it. It is not just how loud it is but also the pitch, the tone and the repetitive sound – very annoying and I agree a health risk. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the game without this particular sound.
I completely agree Ndini Motto... This is seriously one of the most happy world cups I've seen and I follow them all since I was born in 88. I just wish I were there...
Why can't Africans understand that the Vuvuzela is annoying to the whole rest of the world without accusing the rest of the world of being anti-African, or racist ?
Why can't they for a moment, think about the World Cup in terms of the World, and not just Africa ? This is a celebration of ALL NATIONS. Why should one nation, Africa, be allowed to completely dominate and ruin the atmosphere for everyone else ? To ruin the TV broadcast for billions of people ?
This cheap plastic toy is not a cultural icon. It has been available for decades all around the world as a cheap way to make a lot of noise at all outdoor events. In the rest of the world, it is used sparingly. In Africa, it is sadly used very selfishly.
Perhaps Africa needs to be a little more tolerant of others wishes, instead of the other way round ?
If fans are passionate about football, They should be able to express their passion. These horns don’t express any a particular passion – they are just noise! There's not even a way of knowing which team the blowers are pulling for since they blow throughout the entire game. If the fans are liking something on the field, if they are angry, if they are surprised, if they are ecstatic, etc., the sound is exactly the same.
If you look at the stands, the vast majority of spectators are not blowing horns; they are trying to shout, sing, encourage, complain loudly, express ecstasy, etc. But we can't hear any of their genuine 'expression' because their sound is totally drowned out. This is spoiling the atmosphere of the televised World Cup for me and millions of others. I hope that FIFA will do something positive and politely ask people to leave these horns at home. If at least half of the horns could be silenced in this way, it would improve the situation a lot.
Oh boo-freaking-hoo. Man up people. If you don't like the noise....use the mute button. Shame on you for trying to force your cultural norms on us. I am proudly South African, stuck in Canada (as a student on a temporary basis) and SO PROUD of my South African brothers and sisters. I wish I could be there! VIVA VUVUZELA. Seriously... when you guys host sporting events in your countries we have to put up with your bland brand of western "culture". Find something useful and newsworthy to complain about.
The buzz the supporter are using is very annoying it should be band immediately
If South Africans think this world cup belongs to them then they are absolutely wrong. This is the biggest sporting occasion ever and South Africa has been given the honour to host it and show respect to the millions of passionate footbal fans around the world by stopping that awful noise. It has nothing to do with football.
I'm not African but i'm proud that Africa is hosting the world cup and happy for them, but unfortunatly South Africa has simply ruined this world cup and others to come for Africa.
After 4 years of waiting. We have to wait 4 more years to see a real world cup in a place where football is given respect not just blowing horns meaningless NON STOP.
I don't think a plastic horn reflects African culture, its much bigger than that, so please be not offended.
Those annoying horns are chinese made and came to South Africa – round about 2000.
Blame the Chinese.
It is a very Recent or should I say new African Tradition....
You guys just don't get it do you? Have any of you even bothered following the news in South Africa the past 16 years? Let's see... a nation divided by racial tension, a murder rate second to none, economic crisis THANKS TO THE WEST'S MISMANAGEMENT OF FINANCES, unassailable poverty. So when a little plastic thing called a Vuvuzela brings black, white, coloured, indian, you name it, together in a nation where moments like these are very rare and precious, it goes beyond your self-righteous sense of entitlement, and your opinions on whether or not you like the noise becomes completely irrelevant and unimportant. You need to start realising that for us, this is more than just soccer. It is part of the recovery process of a traumatised nation, and if that fact isn't important to you then you should feel shame. We don't want your negativity. We only need positives in SA.
Vuvuzelas are not new, actually ive seen them on tv, and they are 1/3 smaller than the ones they used on mexico world cups, and current ones in mexico, also its not the noisiest by far, in mexico world cups the azteca stadium reached 120,000 , imagine that for a moment, also vuvuzelas by air from people lungs are weak, you should hear the ones powered by compressed air
From Uganda.Bravo South Africa 2010 World Cup.The Vuvuzela is the greatest trumpet in the history of football.I like it because it gives moral in both the players and the supporters and is all new experience to World cup teams.That sound from it is not a threat to losing but its for a win.I have one.Abolishing it is not a good idea at all.I hope also the PGA Tours,Grammy & Emmy awards also come to Africa.Its not a dark continent but its a continent of light and different dimension of support and joy.One world to be happy united by football.
How dissipointing was it to see that the homecrowd left the stadium with more than 15 minutes still to play. Football can be magic and 15 minutes can be a lifetime but the vuvuzelas were silent. They had been fighting for years to get this World championship in their country and felt Africa was not given a proper chance. Then isn't it incredible to see them walk away from a match they were awaiting for so many years? How superficial was their wanting this tournament? I was baffled. The South African team was doing their best and their best is just not good enough for this tournament, but we knew that on forehand, and qualifying for the next round was always going to be a longshot, but why not celebrating the moment and standing behind their team untill the last minute? Their opening match was more than we could expect from them and loosing from Uruguay is not so bad. Come on South Africa, the bafana bafana need you against France. Blow your vuvuzelas and dance till you drop
hate vuvuzela? mute your tv set let your commentator run commentary .get a life . tell your funs to sing louder in the crowed they will be heard. you came to look for only negatives and you find unity in vuvuzela you cry foul. get a life
Get a life! The vuvuzela is going nowhere! South Africa hasn't ruined anything, you've ruined your World Cup experience by having a stinking attitude of narrow-mindedness!
Blow them, blow them, blow them!!!! Harder & louder!!! Welcome to Africa, Black & White are loud in the same way. It's just the way it is. Vuuuuuuuuuuuuuuvuuuuuuuuuuu
You South Africans have been blowing that noisy Vuvuzela for so long that you are all deaf and cant even listen to the plea of millions of viewers who would otherwise have had great things to say about your country.Monotonous sound,single minded people and drab country for me..very very uninviting people.
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