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.