How to Play the Vuvuzela


Anyone who has ever watched a South African football game knows that it's impossible to escape the constant hum of the vuvuzela. Although its origins are unknown, the vuvuzela resembles a traditional African kudu horn used to call together assemblies. According to SAinfo, tin and plastic versions of the instrument rose to popularity in South Africa during the 1990s, and in 2001 sports equipment companies began producing vuvuzelas en masse for use at sporting events. Proper control of your mouth and lips is important when you play the vuvuzela.

  • Wet your mouth and lips with your tongue. A dry mouth will cause you to sputter, and an overly wet mouth can make it difficult to create a consistent sound.

  • Purse your lips gently and create a small hole for air to pass through. Use your cheek muscles to push your lips forward slightly. Your lips should not form a ring, as they do when whistling, but should remain horizontal and stretch out somewhat.

  • Bring the small end of the vuvuzela up to your mouth and place it firmly against your lips. Do not position your lips around the end.

  • Blow forcefully into the vuvuzela and vibrate your lips. If you blow correctly, you will create a loud, elephant-like sound.

  • Tighten and loosen your lips to adjust your pitch. This will allow you to alter the single note that the vuvuzela is capable of producing.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is normal for your cheeks to tingle after playing the vuvuzela.
  • Do not point the vuvuzela at or near other people while playing. Its sound is loud enough to cause hearing damage and loss.

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  • Photo Credit lips of the mouth image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from
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