Origin of the Vuvuzela

Origin of the Vuvuzela

The whole world became exposed to the wonder of the simple plastic horn that is the vuvuzela when soccer fans at the Confederations Cup in 2009 created a din in stadia as a build-up to the 2010 World Cup. Then the World Cup arrived in South Africa and suddenly the vuvuzela took centre stage – people were trumpeting them everywhere. If you prefer more traditional musical instruments then take a gander at what is available at uprice.co.za.

Half of the people exposed to this noise celebrated along with the B-flat note below middle-C, while the other half covered their ears and groaned for the noise to stop. The question the latter group asked was: “Where on earth did those things come from?!”

There are many theories about the origin of the vuvuzela, and while some stadium fans wish the instrument had stayed in the place from whence it came, others try to claim that their origin theory is correct.

The USA – obviously

Americans would love to claim the origin of the plastic horn, citing its appearance and dense use in sporting stadia since the middle of the 1960s, and called the “Stadium Horn”. Apparently there are woodcuts depicting this horn, created by Winslow Homer as early as 1870.

South America

Aerophones (which are musical instruments that create sound by producing vibrations in a body of air) were used in Brazil and other parts of Latin America since the middle of the twentieth century. South Americans claim that the vuvuzela drew inspiration from their corneta, which functions in the same way.

Traditional horn

The kudu horn was traditionally used to create the same vibrational sound to summon villagers to one spot for community meetings. Because of the nature of the horn, some people believe that its name is derived from the Zulu words that mean “unite” or “gathering”.

Individual glory

A South African soccer fan, Freddie Maake, makes the claim that he invented the first vuvuzela in 1965 from an aluminium bicycle bell – of which he has photos from the 1970s to the 1990s, of him holding his makeshift vuvuzela.

Faithful sound

The Nazareth Baptist Church believes that the vuvuzela belongs to the church and threatened to take legal action to prevent the vuvuzela from being used by supporters at soccer matches. No legal action was pursued, however, and those soccer fans still made sure that their vuvuzelas could be heard all the way to the holy land.

Considering the possibilities for where the vuvuzela originated, what version of the origin story have you heard?