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How to Embrace the Sound of the Vuvuzela

Once you understand the origins of the horns blown at South African soccer matches, you may not find the noise they produce quite as jarring.


  • Step 1: Respect the vuvuzela's place in South African soccer culture. But if you ever have the opportunity to hear the horns blown in person, respect your hearing, too, with a good pair of earplugs!
  • FACT: According to researchers who studied the noise level at a South African soccer match, the din of vuvuzelas can reach 144 decibels -- as loud as a jet engine at full throttle, and louder than a NASCAR race, a rock concert, or a jackhammer.
  • Step 2: Learn its emotional association with the World Cup: former South African President Nelson Mandela brought a batch of vuvuzelas to Zurich in May 2004 when the International Federation of Football Associations announced that his country had been chosen to host the 2010 World Cup.
  • Step 3: Understand the inspiration behind blowing the vuvuzela at soccer games: tribesmen traditionally used a _kudu_ horn to summon neighbors for gatherings.
  • Step 4: Know the vuvuzela's origin: It was invented in by a South African toolmaker who noticed that many soccer fans brought homemade tin-can horns to matches.
  • TIP: Originally called the Boogie Blast, fans renamed it the vuvuzela -- slang for "pump it up."
  • Step 5: Know what a vuvuzela is -- a long plastic horn that plays just one note, B flat.

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