Bzzzzzzzzzz / World Cup Vuvuzelas

Bzzzzzzzzzz / World Cup Vuvuzelas

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Bzzzzzz is the onomatopoeia of the droning noise made by the Vuvuzela, a stadium horn popularized during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.


The term vuvuzela[1] was first used in South Africa from the Zulu language or Nguni dialect meaning to make a vuvu sound (directly translated: vuvu-ing). It is also known as lepatata Mambu (its Tswana name), colloquially known in South Africa as “Moerstripper.”

As early as June 2009, a full year prior to the World Cup 2010, BBC published a story addressing the bad reputation of the Vuvuzela in an article entitled “In Defence of the Vuvuzela”[2].


The electrifying atmosphere generated by the ubiquitous instrument at the ongoing Confederations Cup has left many of the onlookers spell bound. But many in Europe say the incessant blowing in the terraces is irritating and have complained that it is drowning out their TV commentators.


Knowledge of the instrument and the sound that it makes spread immediately from the stadiums to the rest of the globe via the mediums of TV, radio, and the web simultaneously. The horns could be heard throughout the stadiums as fans blew the horns with enthusiasm, as a declaration of support for their teams and their countries. Despite the best intentions of most horn-blowers, the sound has been received by many as an annoyance.

BBC Misery Bear

On June 8th, 2010, BBC Comedy[3] web series Misery Bear was posted to YouTube, in which Misery Bear is seen packing a Vuvuzela for the official start of the World Cup, foreshadowing that knowledge of the Vuvuzela was already widespread prior to the year’s games.

In Spanish Language

As Mexico and Russia squared off in the first World Cup match, comments began appearing in Spanish language discussion threads about the particular “bzzzzzzzzz” sound of the horn. The same onomatopoeia began showing up the same day on Reddit[4] and on Yahoo Answers[5] as well.

Vuvuzela Instruction Manual

On June 13th, Reddit user sobmorok posted a thread titled “Vuvuzela Instruction Manual”[6] which quickly reached the frontpage with approximately 280,000 views. The Daily What[7] reblogged the image later that day, reaching an esitimated 40,000 additional viewers.

On 4chan

On the night of June 13th, threads containing image macros of vuvuzelas and posts of the word BBBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZ began appearing all over 4chan, resulting in 4chan sysop (presumably moot) adding an audio clip to play in the background on /b/. The clip contains a sample of Jim Carey’s famous line from the movie Dumb and Dumber: “Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?” followed by a sample of a vuvuzela.

Media Coverage

On June 13th, Time[8] magazine reported on the Vuvuzela phenomenon in an article titled “What is that weird hum during World Cup games?” On June 14th, BBC[9] published the article “Can you block out the blare of vuvuzelas?” That same day, New York Times[10] also published the article “The World Cup Will Drone On” which reported that, despite complaints, FIFA would not ban vuvuzelas because they are part of African culture. On June 17th, Newswire service Reuters[11] also picked up on the “Bzzzzzz” term, publishing the story “BBBBzzzz! Noisy iVuvuzela latest app.”

On Twitter

Twitter account @the_vuvuzela[12] was launched to tweet Bzzzzzzzes, which was then posted to Buzzfeed by BuzzFeed user Tanner Ringerud. In the first 10 hours, the account gained nearly 1,700 followers.

On YouTube

YouTube also joined in on the BZZZZZZZZZ phenomenon by adding a “vuvuzela sound generator” button to its football-related videos.

On Google Maps

Google Maps also incorporated the instrument into Street View. When looking at maps of South Africa, the pegman appeared with a mini red vuvuzela. My Google Map Blog[13] covered it on the 17th and Mashable[14] posted about it on the 25th.

Image Macros

Sheet Music for Vuvuzela

Search Interest

External References

[1]Wikipedia – Vuvuzela

[2]BBCIn Defense of the Vuvuzela

[3]YouTube – BBC Comedy

[4]Reddit – Live World Cup Analysis: South Africa vs. Mexico

[5]Yahoo Answers – Are you watching Mexico and South Africa world cup right now?

[6]Reddit – Vuvuzela Instruction Manual [pic]

[7]The Daily What – User Manual of the Day: Your Vuvuzela And You: A Step-By-Step Instruction Guide

[8]TIMEWhat is that weird hum during World Cup games?

[9]BBCCan you block out the blare of vuvuzelas?

[10]New York Times – The World Cup Will Drone On

[11]Reuters – BBBBzzzz! Noisy iVuvuzela latest app

[12]Twitter – @the_vuvuzela

[13]My Google Map Blog – Vuvuzela on StreetView!

[14]Mashable – Vuvuzela Google Street View

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