Vuvuzela - should it stay or should it go?

The South African 2010 World Cup has barely begun and already it has thrown up a point of huge contention: the vuvuzela. This is a plastic horn that is based on the traditional 'kudu' horn used by African villagers. It is now blown at football matches to cheer on the players. However, the horn is also associated with permanent hearing loss and has caused a great deal of irritation at the World Cup.

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The horn is able to produce 144 decibels inside stadiums, which is louder than fireworks, a plane taking off or a rock concert. After many complaints from both TV stations and viewers, the BBC announced they would be able to reduce the sound on TV.
They claimed to have "taken steps to minimise the noise" and promised that "if the vuvuzela continues to impact on audience enjoyment, we will look at what other options we can take to reduce the volume further."

FIFA is unwilling to enforce a blanket ban on the horn. Their president Sepp Blatter feels "we should not try to europeanise an African World Cup".

In Africa, the vuvuzela is an important part of football matches and banning it could detract from fans' enjoyment of the game.

"Without the vuvuzela, I don't think I would be able to enjoy football," said Sadaam Maake, one of South African football's celebrity followers. "It brings a special feeling to the stadiums. It is something that makes the fans want to get behind their team."

And it's not just the African supporters who love the vuvuzela. British fans have gone vuvuzela mad with Sainsburys claiming to have sold 22,000 horns in just 12 hours before the first England game. Shopping website reported sales of the instrument to have increased by 1,000 per cent and there is even a vuvuzela app available for smart phones.

Despite the fans' love for the vuvuzela, many players find the noise distracting. However, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo realises that the horns are here to stay.

He said: "It is difficult for anyone on the pitch to concentrate. A lot of players don't like them, but they are going to have to get used to them."

Do you find the vuvuzela so annoying that you want it banned or do you think we should respect the horn as part of African culture? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.