Goal.com Traveller's Guide To South Africa: Essential Fan Gear At The Stadium

Goal.com wants to prepare fans of the beautiful game who will be making the trip to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup…
As is the case with any sporting event, the World Cup will be a mix of local and international supporters, and along with the local fans come fanfare and the cultural items of which will end up shaping the image of the tournament for those fortunate enough to make the trip to South Africa. As a result, Goal.com decided to take a look at some of the essential supporter gear to expect in the stadiums across the rainbow nation.

South African Fan With A Vuvuzela


The Vuvuzela is a plastic musical instrument which has now become infamous around the world. It is used mostly at all sporting events or just for a good time by local supporters preparing for, or celebrating a victory.

The Boogieblast, also known as a soccer horn is used by South African supporters to try boost their teams performance. The vuvuzela has a high pitched blasting sound, much like the big air-horn used in freight trucks.

There are now a couple different types, but the Boogieblast is truly the first and original Vuvuzela to be proudly blown by Bafana and PSL supporters. The Vuvuzela is a true supporter's weapon.

The Vuvuzela is a key fans item in South African football that has had an important place at domestic club and international matches for as long as one can remember. In Southern African history, the spiral kudu horn became the instrument of choice for ritual occasions, dancing and generally making music. That developed into a long tin horn that has been used at religious ceremonies.

The Vuvuzela Will Be A World Cup Essential

With a sound like the trumpeting of a bad-tempered elephant, vuvuzelas are excellent noise-makers, so they eventually found there way into football stadiums and mainstream South African culture. Although their strongest association is with football, they’re used at many other sporting events.


The recent FIFA Confedarations Cup 2009 has fueled demand for the vuvuzela and its variations to be chucked out of the stadiums. One such variation is the Kuduzela, which is in the shape of a Kudu horn (the Kudu is a large antelope present in many of SANParks national parks including the Kruger National Park).

A Kuduzela

The Kuduzela differs in many respects from the traditional vuvuzela with one significant differentiating feature apart from  the shape is the fact that the mouthpiece of the Kuduzela  is on the side. The sound is not as bleating as that of the vuvuzela.

While some hate the noise made by the vuvuzela, others cannot wait to use the instrument to spur on their teams and create a loud fan atmosphere in the stadium. The vuvuzelas are once again out in full force, but another uniquely South African fan item will also be visible throughout the venues at the World Cup.

An Italian Makarapa Being Painted


This item is not noisy and it is usually not irritating, unless you happen to be the person sitting behind a particularly large one. The item in question is the makarapa, a hat or helmet worn by the fans, which is adorned with the colours of the supported team.

The vibrant miner’s helmets were originally worn to protect spectators from getting hit by bottles, but over the last few decades the designs have become crazier, including club insignia’s, emblems and mascots, with this colourful piece of African folk art adding to the wonderful atmosphere in the stadium.

The makarapa is a creative artwork unique to South African fans. The makeshift miner's helmet is modified with figurines and emblems identifying a favourite team or player. Some makarabas will boast phrases such as 'the time is now', 'Bafana Bafana' or 'Go Ronaldo'; others will sport figurines kicking footballs or large team logos.

A Shelf Full Of Makarapa Hats

Those preparing to come to South Africa for 2010 will be impressed by the colourful local support, and many will without a doubt add to that vibrant array of sound and colours. A makarapa will be a true fan essential in 2010.

An English Makarapa


Don't forget to bring a powerful pair of lungs to the World Cup to cheer your team on and of course to sing songs and national anthems.

As is often customary at big sporting events in South Africa, the local fans sing 'Shosholoza', a traditional folk song originally sung by groups of workers in a call and response style.

The Zulu word Shosholoza means ‘go forward’ or ‘make way for the next person’, and is often sung at football, rugby and cricket events in the country.

The lyrics of the song vary, but these are the most prominent lyrics:

Ku lezontaba
Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa
Wen' uyabaleka Wen' uyabaleka
Ku lezontaba
Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa

English translation:

Go forward
on those mountains
train from South Africa
You are running away
on those mountains
train from South Africa.