Daily Archives: June 14, 2010

Why ban the vuvuzela?

Why is everyone on the TV and radio talking about banning the vuvuzela, the plastic trumpet played by so many South Africans at the world cup football games that the crowd takes on the noise of a swarm of bees?

Callers to BBC radio 5 live today explained how they ‘don’t like the noise’ or ask ‘why don’t the fans sing songs like we do’?

Isn’t one of the aims of the FIFA World Cup to bring together fans from all nations and cultures and to remind them all that despite their differences, they all have a shared love of the same game? English fans sing songs about the team usually based on familiar tunes, but they have the huge advantage of a single language.

South African fans are in a country where 11 languages enjoy equal status and English is only the 5th most commonly used language. How can they create puns that would be enjoyed by the entire stadium?

And moving beyond the practicalities of language, has anyone considered just how colonial this debate sounds? If South African fans love to blow these trumpets at football matches, then why not join in, rather than preaching to them how fans are supposed to behave?

I hope FIFA doesn’t ban instruments before the Brazil world cup 2014. Everyone knows how much the Brazilians love to play music at matches, so a ban just because of disgruntled Europeans upset at Africans blowing trumpets would be a disaster.

Vuvuzela

A fair days pay for a fair days work

Around 300 stadium workers at the world cup stadium in Durban refused to go home after work last night, causing armed police to treat the protest as a potential riot – charging the staff with tear gas and firing rubber bullets.

But why did the police need to go in so heavy-handed? The workers seemed to have a genuine complaint and they managed to voice it eloquently to the media – how come the management of their company felt it was appropriate to call in the riot police?

In the dry run, where they did a complete practice session for a world cup game, the management did not tell the workers how much they would be earning. On the day of the game itself many of the workers left home at 7am and were still at the stadium at 1am that night – it was a long day.

Then they got pay packets containing 190 Rand ($25) when some of them had heard unconfirmed rumours (supposedly from FIFA) that the workers would be getting paid 1,500 Rand ($195).

Perhaps the contractor might want to speak to the media to explain why these workers had no form of contract, no idea of wht they would be earning, and no help getting home from the stadium at 1am? FIFA ought to be there mediating between these workers and the contractor, not watching the police pump rubber bullets into people asking for fair pay for very long days making sure the world cup games run smoothly.

What’s going to happen to the next Durban game if all 300 workers decide to just not bother showing up for work?