The Vuvuzela: Press Conference with Innovator and Father of the Vuvuzela, Neil Van Schalkwyk

The contentious Vuvuzela (voo-voo-zeh-la) has made its presence known in the games of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa as the droning insect soundtrack gracing the games. 

At the V&A Waterfront World Media and Legacy Centre here in Cape Town, June 18th, 2010, Neil Van Schalkwyk (innovator and father of the Vuvuzela) spoke about the journey of this controversial piece of plastic from its days of late night production in the plastic factory in which he worked in Cape Town to the multi-million rand enterprise it has become. 

Playing as a defender for Santos in a match against the Kaiser Chiefs, Van Schalkwyk explained that his inspiration arrived when he looked up into the stands and saw the prototype (a tin horn) that he would soon transform into the mass-produced Vuvuzela. Asked how a piece of plastic that has been around for only ten years could become an emblem of South African culture and tradition, Van Schalkyk had little to say other than casually referencing the horn as a traditionally "African" instrument. 

As the producer of the horn on the tips of everyone's lips worldwide, Van Schalkwyk seemed to stroll through the questions as if he had been coached on his recently-begun PR tour for the infamous Vuvuzela and his company, Masincedane Sport. 

Have a listen to the entire press conference and let me know your thoughts on the horn of the Rainbow Nation. 

Further Resources on the Vuvuzela

The Big Issue South Africa

Cape Times (one of many articles on the Vuvuzela in the Cape Times)

Cape Argus (one of many articles on the Vuvuzela in the Cape Argus)

J. K. Fowler is an adjunct professor in the sociology and anthropology department at Rutgers University Newark, the founding and managing editor of the nomadic sojourns creative collective based in Oakland, CA and Brooklyn, NY, a full-time editor, and a doctoral candidate at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.