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Blow hard!

With the FIFA World Cup only a few months away, fans are getting ready for the biggest sporting event on the 2010 calendar.

For those supporters wanting to utilize a truly South African artifact, why not give the Vuvu-Zela a go? The Vuvu-Zela is South Africa's cheering device of choice. Its basically a plastic bugle, roughly the length of a clarinet, and sounds a bit like a walrus stubbing its fin on a sharp rock.

What the Vuvu-Zela lacks in sound quality, it makes up in effectiveness - it's mighty, blunt bewailing can be heard almost continents away, ensuring that players on the field know you're behind them.

Don't be fooled by it's simplicity though. Blowing the Vuvu-Zela takes skill and understanding. It may not be a concert piano, but its not the triangle, either. Many a drunken fan has passed out in frustration, blue-lipped and red faced after 20 minutes of silent dry-heaving. You've got to purse your lips, the way young children kiss a distant auntie with facial hair, and release pockets of air through narrow opening. Its important that you keep your lips tight and body loose. This is key strategy information: its not how hard you blow, its the flow of air that counts.

The Vuvu-Zela transcends the game of soccer, too. On the walk home, it doubles as a great sword fighting toy to use with your mates. Many a Vuvu-Zela dual takes place once the dust has settled and the studded boots are hung up. Otherwise it makes a stunning household ornament and a useful conversation starter. "Ah, I see you play the Vuvu-Zela - mind if I have a go?" that sort of thing....

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Clayton Truscott

Clayton Truscott

Clayton is a comfortable traveller, having grown up in a small city that was far away from everything. He spent lots of time in the car as a child, driving up and down the coast of South Africa on surfing trips with his family. After studying abroad in the United States and spending a year working in London, he moved to Cape Town, where he completed a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. He now works as a freelance writer for various travel, surfing and action sports publications.