June 16, 2010
S. African Church Leader Defends Horns at World Cup
The captain of France's national soccer team is said to have blamed noise from the "vuvuzela" for keeping his team awake at night and contributing to a poor match against Uruguay in the World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
But Tinyiko Maluleke, president of the South African Council of Churches, told Ecumenical News International that the three-foot noisy horns are forcing the world to wake up and acknowledge Africa's past sufferings.
Nearly 85,000 people have logged on to a website, www.banvuvuzela.com, to silence the horns during the World Cup; a little more than 9,000 want to keep them.
Soccer fans and players say the constant noise from the horns can cause hearing loss and makes the matches unwatchable, even on TV.
Coaches on the sidelines say the noise makes it difficult to communicate with players on the field.
"In the 19th century, white missionaries sided with colonials and gave blacks the Bible, while they took the land. Now, we have created the vuvuzela, which is one of the most obnoxious instruments: very noisy; very annoying. It will dominate the World Cup," Maluleke said recently in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the 2010 World Missionary Conference.
"I see the vuvuzela as a symbol -- as a symbol of Africa's cry for acknowledgement."
In an article published on his website, Maluleke said the horn resembles "in part, a modern trumpet and the `traditional' animal horn used to announce and to summon." South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper reported that the vuvuzela is common in churches in neighboring Botswana.
"The vuvuzela is a biblical instrument," church member Jacqueline Chireshe told the newspaper. "It is a trumpet, and God expects us to blow the trumpet in offering praise to him."
Maluleke noted the irony that white European audiences are now complaining about an instrument that's popular in African culture, generations after some Christian missionaries had deprived blacks of their culture.
"We see it when Africans are embarrassed to be African in their own vernacular language, to relate to their culture positively: the schizophrenic relationship that Africans have to their traditions, their culture, and their religions," he told Ecumenical News International.