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Vuvuzela Worship (AE)

Andrew Esiebo/Twenty Ten

Associated features on vuvuzelas: Vuvuzela Madness (Photo gallery), Vuvuzela Day (Photo feature), Vuvuzela takes on the World (Text feature), Le vuvuzela (French translation), Vuvuzelas with a difference (Photo feature about seaweed vuvuzelas) , Vuvuzela Orchestra (Audio feature), Vuvuzela origins (Text feature) , Vuvuzela Ownership (Audio feature)

Location: Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

Controversy over the origin of the vuvuzela.

As South Africa has hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup there has been some debate over the origin of the plastic trumpet that has become the defining sound of the tournament.

The Shembe, also known as the Nazareth Baptist Church, has always used an air-horn as a centre piece in their religious rituals. Dressed head to toe in traditional clothes with shields and vuvuzelas in hand, a Sunday service at the Church is quite a spectacle. The king, or prophet, gathers his congregation to extend a blessing and it is clear from the gathering that the plastic trumpet is an integral part of their worship.

Their claim is that the vuvuzela originates from their community and they would like some recognition of the fact. As the South African football body, SAFA, defended the right for its country’s citizens to play their vuvuzelas at matches as a mark of support, the community here hope that it will endeavour to respect the cultural roots of the instrument.

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