Forgive, dear Reader, my lack of attention. There’s been a distraction, you understand. Yes, soccer. Watching the games, I find myself reaching for the mute button on the remote a lot. Mainly when the commentary gets irritating. And also that monotonous vuvuzela racket. But it was not always thus.

the traditional horn

The kudu horn has a more solemn intonation. And fewer decibels. The man who gave us the vuvuzela is a 37 year Capetonian called Neil van Schalkwyk, who has sold 800 000 of them, including an order for 40 000 from Sainsbury’s in London. He now also makes a slightly less noisy version, but will the cheap Chinese vuvus be so too? Sadly, Van Schalkwyk was unable to patent his invention. After all, the horn has been around for a while:

Nicolas Poussin 'The triumph of Pan' 1635

I actually like the vuvuzela. It stands for African spontaneity and ebullience. But Mondli Makhanya‘s point – that we’ve replaced songs like Shosholoza with a plastic cacophony- is true. Go to a game with 50 000 of those at full blast? No thanks, I’ll be watching at home. Sticking close to the mute button.