DURBAN, South Africa — AFP reports a South African church has reached a deal with a vuvuzela maker acknowledging that their prophet in 1910 invented the horn that has become the sound of the World Cup, a spokesman said Tuesday.
The Nazareth Baptist Church says its founder Isaiah Shembe invented the monotone instrument a century ago using antelope horns, which his followers used in prayers.
The church had threatened a lawsuit to assert their intellectual property rights over the vuvuzela, which is now mass-produced in plastic and has become the must-have accessory at World Cup matches.
“We are now considered as the official makers of the vuvuzela. We are going to work together,” said the church’s spokesman Enoch Mthembu.
In the 1980s, supporters of Durban’s AmaZulu football club began blowing horns made out of antelope horns or stalks of sugar cane in stadiums.
The tradition was adopted by the Kaizer Chiefs in Soweto, who popularised the instrument around Johannesburg.
Masincedane Sport Company decided to mass produce the horns in plastic in 2001.
The company said it would release details of the deal later this week.
The Nazareth Baptist Churchalso known as the Shembe after its founder, and which claims four million followers and mixes Christianity and Zulu traditions.
Shembe is revered as an African Messiah.
Mthembu said the church wanted to prevent copycat versions of vuvuzelas coming from China.
“Today, our main concern is to close down illegal manufacturers and the Chinese companies which produce very cheap items,” he said.
“It is important for us to be recognised as the inventor of the vuvuzela. It is a South African instrument and the production is out of control now.”
SOURCE: Mishkan Ministeries.
Provides the following explanation on the site:-
“The two silver trumpets were used to announce removal of the camp, special festivals, the Year of Jubilee, war, or any other notable event (Numbers 10:2-10), which were to be a single piece (probably manufactured like the pipes of the candelabrum). They were straight as represented on the Arch of Titus where they are exhibited as about equal to each other in average diameter.”
THE inevitable row over the extremely noisy Vuvuzela has become a favourite topic of conversation at the FIFA World Cup. But the plastic instrument is drowning out another conversation — who exactly invented the Vuvuzela, and why should plastic versions of traditional musical instruments be protected under South Africa’s Intellectual Property law?
There are conflicting reports in the media about the origin of the Vuvuzela. While most local newspapers attribute the invention to local South African businessman Neil van Schalkwyk, 36, according to the UK Guardian, a man by the name of Freddie Maake, 53 from Johannesburg claims to have invented the device.
The football fan said he created the vuvuzela prototype in the mid-70s and developed versions in aluminium and plastic, but in 2001 a company trademarked it and mass produced it. Maake said he asked for royalties but the talks broke down.
Neil van Schalkwyk of Masincedane Sport, a sporting goods and apparel company, says he is the inventor and has papers to prove it. According to the Guardian, van Schalkwyk a football fan, used to play semi-professionally. “I saw a tin version of the product at the stadiums,” he recalls. “With my background in plastics, I spoke to my then manager about us developing a plastic version in about 1999. The first samples were made in 2001 and we started getting the product out into the market then.”
Maake on the other hand, says he came up with the design and name: “I’m the father of vuvuzela,” he said. “The name comes from me. van Schalkwyk called his prototype something completely different.” Production of the patented plastic Vuvuzela was announced shortly after South Africa won the rights to stage the world cup event. The plastic Vuvuzela has a remarkable resemblance to the Swiss Horn, and other traditional European and African instruments which have been with us for thousands of years. While Maake is not making a cent, van Schalkwyk reckons the industry is worth R50 million a year. It is unlikely the dispute will ever reach court, since litigation in terms of South African Intellectual Property Law is incredibly expense. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see if van Schalkwyk’s claim holds up. It would not be the first time that patents have been overturned after unscrupulous investors have exploited traditional knowledge.