Uthango Social Investments wishes to thank every buyer/sponsor of every earplug. We also want to recognise the following collaborators and supporters who assisted us to make this initiative possible - by believing in the value of social enterprise:

  • Our medical expert: Dr. Andre Hoffman and his team
  • Our PR company for this Initiative: Eclipse PR
  • Our connectors: Cutting Edge Group and Active Public Relations (Tracey Brits - Publicist)
  • Our logo designers: Malossol Intelligent Brand Solutions
  • Our vuvuzela partner and supporter: Masincedane (Neil van Schalkwyk)
  • Our believers and cheerleaders: Dean Moldenhauer and Thulani Dasa

How did it all start? Our Story so far:
After the Confederations Cup in South Africa, Uthango recognised that the health risks of the vuvuzela were not know to the broader public. Early 2009, we saw the opportunity to develop a social enterprise that would be sustainable due to demand of vuvuzelas world-wide and started the development of a business case. We secured a credible local supplier with excellent labour practices benefiting people with disabilities, and Malossol developed a funky brand for our
Vuvuzela unPlugged™.

Worried about regulations for 2010, we contacted FIFA, the Global Licensing Group, the FIFA Local Organising Committee as well as government for support in any format - to no avail. Uthango's team continued to believe in the potential and turned to the Cutting Edge Group, and Tracy Brits and were eventually connected with the brilliant Eclipse PR in Cape Town - in turn approaching close to 30 multinational companies (the majority of these turning down the opportunity to sponsor the initiative).

In the mean time, the great team at Stripform Packaging in Atlantis made sure we had our branded packaging in time by prioritising our printing. We then approached the South African innovator, soccer lover and entrepreneur of the vuvuzela, Neil van Schalkwyk, with the idea to incorporate earplugs with his vuvuzelas in acknowledgement of the health risks associated to its noise levels. Neil saw a golden opportunity in the vuvuzela in 2001 - and in 2010, he had the foresight and entrepreneurial spirit to support our initiative and believe in our vision when it seemed socio-politically incorrect to do so: He could clearly see the value our earplugs could add to his business model whilst ensuring socially responsible business now that the health risks are known. We are going forward... and we are formalising a long term mutually-beneficial relationship with Masincedane Sport and their lighter version of the popular vuvuzela. Uthango will continue to canvas for innovation to further reduce the potential health risks of these controversial but exhilarating noise-makers , and in the mean time - EAR PLUGS.

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