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Vuvuzelas (SR)

Samantha Reinders/Twenty Ten

Associated features on vuvuzelas: Vuvuzela Madness (Photo gallery), Vuvuzela Day (Photo feature), Vuvuzela takes on the World (Text feature), Vuvuzela Orchestra (Audio feature), Vuvuzela origins (Text feature)

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

The vuvuzela – an air horn that is the instrument of choice at South African football matches and considered an essential part of the South African soccer experience – have been shrouded in controversy in the build up to the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

Despite an attempt to ban them, when the fans enter the stadiums during the World Cup, most of them will be carrying South African vuvuzela trumpets. Most will be the ubiquitous plastic ones, some will be traditional tin ones, and some will be homemade. Some, however, will be made from kelp found along the Cape Town coastline.

Founded in 2008 by local artist Adam Carnegie KELP (The Kelp Environmental Learning Project) is a project specializing in custom-crafted, eco-friendly vuvuzela's made from an abundant natural resource: kelp.

In addition to its eco-friendly and educational label, the project also has a social upliftment arm and creates sustainable livelihoods for 6 people who help to collect, carve and paint the kelp.

Vuvuzela’s were originally made out of tin and became popular in South Africa in the 1990’s. Their origin, however, can be traced back many years. In southern Africa, the spectacular spiral kudu horn became the instrument of choice for ritual occasions, dancing and generally making music. That developed into a long tin horn that has been used at religious ceremonies for many years.

The origin of the name is disputed; it may originate from the Zulu for "making noise", or from the "vuvu" sound it makes, or from township slang related to the word for "shower".

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