Excitement mounts in South Africa! ‘Football Fridays’ focus attention on our hosting the long awaited 2010 FIFA World Cup. Enthusiasm spills over to the rest of the week. Vehicles bear flags, people wear yellow supporter’s shirts and the atmosphere here is positively electric.
In previous blogs, as a communications consultant, I have given tips for visitors to help make their stay in South Africa even more enjoyable. I quote from my article of April 23 2010 under the heading ‘The vuvuzela calls’:
‘The vuvuzela is a brightly coloured long trumpet-shaped instrument made of plastic. As far as I’m aware, no-one is really sure of the origins and there are a plethora of stories explaining its origins and initial purpose.
Fans take their instruments to matches and the noise is very loud, so loud in fact that opposing teams at last year’s Confederation Cup lodged a complaint that the noise affected their ability to hear and to concentrate. Attempts were made to ban the vuvuzela from the FIFA World Cup. FIFA took this proposal seriously but at the time of writing this blog, to the best of my knowledge, the host nation's response that ‘the vuvuzela is essential to a South African footballing experience’ prevails. There will be plenty of these colourful trumpets at the matches – and as souvenirs for people traveling abroad!’
After writing the article mentioned above, on my return trip to South Africa, in the May 2010 ‘Sawubona’ (The South African Airways in-flight magazine) I smiled as I read the article ‘Tips for travelers during the 2010 football world cup’. I quote from page 22 of that magazine:
‘Vuvuzelas carried as hand luggage
The vuvuzela, a trumpet-like pipe, has become one of the South African soccer supporter’s essential items. Customers traveling with vuvuzelas in the cabin of SAA-owned and/or any SAA operated aircraft are requested to refrain from using these on board aircraft. Vuvuzelas create very high noise levels which may result in difficulty for our crew (licensed safety officers) to communicate important safely information and/or emergency evacuation procedures.
In addition, on smaller aircraft the noise created in the confines of an aircraft may create difficulty for our flight crew to hear important radio communications. The use of these may also create annoyance to fellow passengers. Customers are advised that the use of these items on board may constitute a criminal offence und the provisions of the Civil Aviation Offences Act, punishable by between five and 15 years ‘imprisonment.
In the interest of safety and the comfort of our passengers, SAA will take a zero tolerance approach to any persons using vuvuzelas on board flights’.
The mind boggles! Can you imagine the scene on board an aircraft with enthusiastic fans celebrating by blowing their vuvuzelas? No! Let’s end on another kind of ‘high note’: join us in having a wonderful time during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.