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McMahon: The Buzz

It was last Friday morning at 6:30 and my wife and I had decided to forego our regular news programs for a sports spectacle that we would share with much of the rest of the world’s population – the opening match of the World Cup, featuring the host country South Africa playing Mexico.

It was a beautiful day in Cape Town – the stadium was packed with fans and costumes of a dazzling variety of colors. The excitement was electric. But what was that sound? After all the months of technical preparation, could the TV transmission have an audio problem? Something was drowning out the commentary.

It sounded like all the bees on earth had assembled on this one spot. Could they mistakenly be playing the sound track from that movie “Swarm?” What was it?

We found out later it was a plastic horn South Africans call a vuvuzela. It sounded like everyone on the continent had one. France & Portugal complained that it affected their concentration. A vuvuzela ban was considered, then withdrawn. Annoying? Yes! But you can’t ban everything that’s annoying – you can’t ban drunks at a Raiders game or Wayne Newton in Vegas. Loud and constant, but perhaps more easily understood when you know the word vuvuzela is South African for politicians.