Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The vuvuzela soundtrack

Is it a piece of plastic or a piece of culture?

Did it matter? Now it does. Now it is a piece of culture.

Week Night English Football has the soundtrack of chanting British Louts singing their famous songs en masse & with impressive unison. Filled with sexism and swearing and repetition.

Port Elizabeth cricket has the soundtrack of that brass band. People the world round now know the St. George’s pitch simply by hearing some pop tune being enthusiastically percussion’ed out during sports hour.

Weekend Rugby has the soundtrack of some family member swearing at the television. COMEOOOOON REF!!! WTF ARE YOU ON ABOUT!!!!!! ARGHRGHGAGHHHHH WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO CATCH!!!

Saturday afternoon South African soccer/football has always had the soundtrack of that plastic one-note horn, which characterises a curling kudu horn, being blared at supporters & opponents alike...

South African soccer noise… fun emotional chaos epitomised. The vuvuzela being chaotically blown, to a crowd gone wild, and the commentators gone wilder, particularly with their regular LADUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMAs!

[Man, how I wish they’d get the World Cup commentators to get into the LADUUUUUUMA spirit as well! I am even doing my best to teach it to the oblivious “is it time for the footy yet?” Aussies].

This has been a weekly tv-room characteristic as family members watched with rapt attention as Kaizer Chiefs dominated everybody! (Ok, ok, I might be biased, they’re my team. I don’t follow many sports with regularity, but I always have a team to support!). I barely ever watched the soccer, but just from the noise in the background to my life, I knew what was going on, and I knew all was right and calm with my world.

It is silence that disturbs me. I did not grow up on that.

So it is amusing to step out of the noise & realise the unaccustomed folk might find it annoying. To me, it is just there. A Saturday afternoon soundtrack.

And THAT is what they mean by culture. If you want to experience soccer in South Africa, then you need to know, that is how it is experienced. With a BARP, colour, and chaos. And even a live chicken sometimes! HA HA.

Ex-colonisers & “superior” Developed Worlders, we realise that you think you are civilised, and that you would love us to be “civilised”, “controlled” and “emotionally dulled” too. We have listened, and even tried to understand and be like you. But now, in this very moment, over such an insignificant issue, is when you are given a perfect opportunity to understand what we’ve been saying. Why we keep asking for cultural understanding and why we keep saying you are not there yet.

It is more than appreciating our food styles, or giving our musicians an award at your ceremonies, or examining our cultural paraphernalia through a museum’ed lens. That to understand us and make us all equal, you have to give a little bit too. Be made uncomfortable. And to eventually decide you may as well learn how to appreciate something so different to what you know.

Allow yourself to be converted. And then you will start to realise why so many of us have heartstrings yanking us back to cultures of Africa. Passion colourfully valued, emotion blaringly displayed, and noise made chaotically fun and overthetop.

Cause we’re not listening this time. Our vuvuzelas are too loud for us to hear you! And we don’t need to listen to you (arguably that may be because our current coloniser, FIFA, says they like our unique noise).

We are equal by decree of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and just by our ability to blare into your tight-arsed noiseless emotionally-controlled rooms and heads!

Damn bluddy Africans. Always have to make a sing, dance and noise of everything!

... and don’t we love ourselves for it!!


po said...

it is modern culture, ie it has been around long enough for people to have grown up hearing it. I too remember the noise, my dad used to put the soccer on on the weekends, but I don't think he was even watching, he just hated not to put sport on tv. I just remember the noise and the laduuumas as part of the soundtrack to my life too. And I really wasn't a soccer fan. So therefore it is part of my culture, I have known nothing else!

I do think we have to take majority opinion into account though, if so many people are so very unhappy and can't enjoy the WC because of it, perhaps it needs to be controlled.

Basically I want people to stop saying this is the world cup ever, because it is crushing me!

Champagne Heathen said...

Ah, Po, I reckon you getting too much of that louty coloniser voice over there. I definitely have not heard it being said it is the worst world cup ever!! (And the aussies def could say that considering..hahahahahhahahahah!)

If anything, it is an African majority this time. (Finally).

My point is to water down the comments of the Europeans, because they have been getting far too much air play for far to many years/decades/ centuries. Now is the time to abide by how the majority of Africans (and fifa *cough*) want this tournament to be run.

To the Wanky whiny brits - tell them it is time to embrace their chaotic colourful HAPPY emotions. Those do exist in them, no matter how hard they do their damn'dest to suppress them & for some reason are so embarrassed by them. And to embrace something different. Despite how scared they are of "african difference" for some insane archaic reason!

Good luck with them! Ignore most of them! It is just nonsense. Focus on how much S.Africans/ Africans are enjoying it!

po said...

champs: actually (well the brits are constantly whining about the vuvus but that's them) I saw those comments online, from people from around the world :( makes me sad.

The people who are at the game are enjoying them, the people who are watching on tv are whining that the "Africans" are selfish, ruining the World cup that is meant to be for everyone blah blah blah

Honestly, considering I am watching it on tv too and it isn't ruined at all, I can't understand what they are drama queening about.

The BBC is trying to filter out the noise anyway.

People just have no tolerance!

Champagne Heathen said...

Po, did you read the CONSTITUTIONALLY SPEAKING piece on it? Also a good read.

The joys of "Culture". Whose culture gets to dominate the moment? Because many are calling South African Vuvuzela blowers the intolerant ones.

But, just some other thoughts knocking in my head;

Why can it not just be our moment though? Our style? Why does it always have to be "their's"? What "they" like & how they like it..

Why does it feel like only the diluted parts of who we are, are "allowed".

Surely, to accept us, is to accept us in entirety?

Sorry.. went on a ramble... those thoughts just came to my head.