/ 17 July 2009

Kuduzela bustles in on vuvuzela. Or does it?

The evolution of South Africa’s beloved vuvuzela is upon us. So it is out with the old, and in with the — kuduzela?

FNB, together with SANParks and Kudu Kudu Manufacturing, have launched the kuduzela, a plastic instrument in the shape of a kudu’s horn, as the must-have supporters’ instrument for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

According to SANParks CEO David Mabunda, ”The kuduzela will call all South Africans, international guests and soccer fans to South Africa for what is set to be a spectacular tournament in 2010 and, appropriately, it will call the ‘warring parties’ to the symbolic battlefield of soccer.”

Despite there being good intentions behind the kuduzela, the pros may well outweigh the cons. Vuvuzela fans all over the country are beginning to show their distaste towards the kuduzela via blogs and online comments. Statements such as: ”I saw and heard it — looks kak. Long live the vuvuzela!” are appearing on numerous sites. This makes one wonder if the kuduzela will be a success.

Will the kuduzela ever become more popular than the vuvuzela?

A spokesperson for the original manufacturer of the vuvuzela states that sales of the vuvuzela have not been affected yet by the kuduzela, but they are apprehensive about its future as the World Cup approaches.

A traditional vuvuzela costs a supporter between R25 and R50, which is seen as a worthy purchase as the atmosphere provided by the call of the vuvuzela at a soccer match is priceless. The official price for the kuduzela has not been released, but reports claim it will cost between R120 and R150. Will South Africans, under the current tough economic conditions, be willing to spend that amount when they have already spent anything from R140 to R6 300 for a World Cup ticket?

The manner in which the kuduzela is played is also causing some concern. Unlike the vuvuzela, which is played in front of the supporter or up in the air, the kuduzela, when played, sticks out to the right of the supporter. With space in the soccer stadiums being pretty tight, it’s only a matter of time before fans get irritated with having their neighbour’s 80-decibel kuduzela obstructing their view and hurting their ear drums.

The shape of the kuduzela has also caused concern, with worries over the danger that the sharp mouthpiece-end may lend itself to.

It seems the vuvuzela may be safe for now.