So it’s 2am and I’m being woken up by the single “baaaawp…” of the vuvuzela. It’s been 4 hours since the last football game has ended and sure enough, after the general humming has died down and all the revelers have gone to their respective beds for a good night’s rest, there’s always that one straggler who is roaming the streets tooting his horn, or in this case, his vuvuzela. The constant hum of the vuvuzelas has become such a big part of football in South Africa that as I was watching the match at the stadium earlier, I wondered what it was like before it became so prevalent. Now I can’t imagine a game without hearing these things and it has become somewhat of a love/hate relationship because as I write this, my ears are still ringing from earlier.
The love part is where I see this as being uniquely South African and all attempts by some old prudes up north on trying to ban them have become futile. Futile to the point that I remember watching a news clip of some Portuguese protesters actually using them. For the past few days the hum has been a constant part of daily life. My ears have been working overtime and I’ve grown accustomed to hearing them on a constant basis. But, right now in the early hours of the morning I’m not a fan of them. There is a time and place for them and right now is not the time. I need my sleep and all I want to do is roll over and snuggle under my duvet, away from the rain and cold that’s beating down outside. Which makes me wonder, why on earth would anyone be roaming the streets at this hour in the cold and wet in the first place? But I guess to each his own.
But now it seems that the quiet has returned to my street and the lone trumpeter has moved on to another part of town. It’s all calm and still again and I find myself not able to go back to bed. Partly because I’m now not used to this silence. My ears feel naked and I start to realise that in less than a month, there will be no more “baaaw baaawping” of vuvuzelas. The festivities will have died down and the foreigners will have gone back and all that will be left is the eerie silence of the after party. It’s funny how things tend to grow on you and while you have it around you take it for granted and sometimes even to a point where you feel it’s a nuisance and an irritation at times. Then these little moments of silence remind me that it is unique and that somehow it won’t be the same without it around. So yes it may be irritating at times and a pain on the ears but that’s what sets it apart from the rest. I have attached feelings to it and now wherever I am, when I hear that “baaawp” I’ll know it’s a piece of South Africa and everything that comes with it – the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s a case of missing what you had now that its gone. So as I sit in silence, the sound of the vuvuzela blown by quite possibly a bergie has helped me reflect not only on the coming and going of the World Cup but also on life in general.
So I thank the drunkard in the street who woke me up at this early hour to remind me to take notice of and appreciate the things I have rather than to constantly chase what I don’t have and in the process miss out on both and end up with nothing. Who would’ve thought a vuvuzela would be so insightful?!