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Open Access Vuvuzela Magic

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Vuvuzela Magic

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The Production and Consumption of ‘African’ Cultural Heritage during the FIFA 2010 World Cup

During the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a mass-produced, plastic football supporters’ horn known as the vuvuzela attracted worldwide fame and infamy. This article discusses the vuvuzela’s construction as a material and sonorous register of ‘African’ and ‘South African’ cultural distinctiveness. Specifically, it discusses the production, circulation and consumption of its ‘African’ cultural significance as a heritage form. It outlines the contested political and ideological economy – involving the South African state and football officials, FIFA, a local manufacturer, indigenous groups and football fans – through which the instrument travelled. Demonstrating the instrument’s circulation through this network, the article shows how the construction and authentication of the vuvuzela materially and sonically staged the negotiation of notions of ‘Africanness’ and ‘South Africanness’, as well as their complex relationship in post-apartheid South Africa, during the tournament.

Affiliations: 1: University of Utrecht, The Netherlands djethro@gmail.com

During the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a mass-produced, plastic football supporters’ horn known as the vuvuzela attracted worldwide fame and infamy. This article discusses the vuvuzela’s construction as a material and sonorous register of ‘African’ and ‘South African’ cultural distinctiveness. Specifically, it discusses the production, circulation and consumption of its ‘African’ cultural significance as a heritage form. It outlines the contested political and ideological economy – involving the South African state and football officials, FIFA, a local manufacturer, indigenous groups and football fans – through which the instrument travelled. Demonstrating the instrument’s circulation through this network, the article shows how the construction and authentication of the vuvuzela materially and sonically staged the negotiation of notions of ‘Africanness’ and ‘South Africanness’, as well as their complex relationship in post-apartheid South Africa, during the tournament.

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/content/journals/10.1163/18725465-00702003
2014-01-01
2017-11-23

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