Hapless South Africa vendors ponder vuvuzela glut

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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) -- At the stalls on Cape Town's Green Market Square the eye-catching masks from Cameroon, Zulu figurines and Masai necklaces have reclaimed their former places from the usurping vuvuzela.

The colourful plastic trumpets, a symbol of South Africa's World Cup, hang forlornly at the edges of stalls or have been consigned to cardboard boxes, as the buying frenzy which swept across the country two weeks ago slows.

After a rush of vuvuzelas came on to the market from China prices slumped from 60-70 Rand (about $8-9) to 30 Rand.

"What am I going to do all with my vuvuzelas?" said stall holder Amadou Sise. "I have no idea. I have hundreds left."

He hopes departing visitors will take them back to friends.

"An American man just bought 15 to take home with him but other than that I'm not selling many," he said.

Vuvuzelas are hardy, weather-resistant, and with their irritating drone not an alluring target for thieves, so people are unlikely to need replacements as the tournament continues.

Newer vuvuzelas come fitted with a strap for the owner to sling fashionably over one shoulder, making them harder to lose.

"We need the Chinese to come and take them all back again. Maybe they can melt them down into something useful like cups or bowls," laughed stall-holder Ochi Nyamori.

Evelyn Marshall from Zimbabwe has not sold a vuvuzela in a week, noting sales had slowed since South Africa became the first World Cup host to exit at the group stage last week.

"I've put my African products back at the centre of my stall," she said, pointing to an impressive array of carvings and Zulu basketweaves.

For those who have just arrived in the country -- they are still a must-have accessory.

"I bought mine on a street corner on the way in from the airport," said 22-year-old Australian student Sam Banting from Melbourne, showing his dark green vuvuzela with a South Africa sticker.

But for those who have been here longer the novelty is starting to fade.

"I've got one but I left it in the hotel. I'm sick of the sound," said 21-year old German fan Hanno Weiss waiting to watch a match in Cape Town's fan fest.