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Belfast gets the horn: Vuvuzela divides public opinion

By Anne Madden

Like them or loathe them, the South African horn or vuvuzela has been all the buzz of the World Cup.

The plastic horns have become the must-have accessory for fans. But it is the noise they make — like a swarm of angry bees — that has vexed viewers and footballers alike.

The Belfast Telegraph took one vuvuzela to the City Hall to see if Belfast’s still got the buzz.

It took a deep breath and just one blast of the horn to turn heads and even stop traffic.

Our red plastic horn might have seemed inoffensive, but it raised both the hackles and interest of workers and shoppers enjoying the sun in their lunch hour yesterday.

“The vuvu, wha’?” said one sun-worshipper as he puzzled over the mouthpiece.

As he gave it a blast, pigeons flew for safety to the trees and workers almost choked on their sandwiches

Hearing the horn, one curious passer-by, Peter McEvoy (50), rushed over. “I’m full of hot air, can I have a go?” he asked.

“I was expecting lots of singing and dancing at the World Cup — instead we got the horn,” said Richard Breen from Templepatrick, Co Antrim. The 24-year-old gave the horn a blast much to the amusement of onlookers.

Opinion on the plastic horn divided one couple from Belfast. Clasping her ears, Gillian Burrell described the sound as “absolutely horrendous”. The 52-year-old said she had been suffering from a headache and could feel it getting worse. “It’s the continuous sound I don’t like — they sound like bees buzzing.” But her partner Michael Wilkinson (46) thought it “adds to the atmosphere”.

Although the vuvuzela is not on sale in Northern Ireland, it was instantly recognised as that “buzzing thing on the TV”.

Stephanie Stephens (31) from Belfast said she didn’t mind the noise: “It’s part of the South African culture, so suck it up!”

Pam Young, who works as a missionary in Africa, was on a visit to Belfast. “I think they are absolutely brilliant for the economy,” she said.

While opinion is divided, little Leo Novotny from Glengormley proved you are never too young to be charmed by the horn. The two-year-old leaped from his buggy and before you could say “vuvuzela” had ran off with the instrument.

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