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.”