Doof Mpararo, Burundi Style!
If you didn’t play in a pool of water without chlorine when growing up, you can consider yourself having had a deprived childhood. It was one of the reasons I got spanked over and over again but I still did it. It was irresistible. Yes our school (Hospital Hill) had a beautiful pool but nothing matched the fun I had in the murky waters of excavations and quarries that surrounded Doonholm Estate in the 80s.
For those unfamiliar with the terminology, doof means swim, and is derived from the sound you make as you enter the water; and mpararo means once your swim is over, your dark skin will have a whitish look that will definitely get you spanked when you get home.
On my first documentary assignment in Burundi in 2011, I met these boys in Nyanza Lac, reliving my childhood joys in the waters of Lake Tanganyika. They were jumping off a pier into the cool waters on a hot afternoon. Using charades, I asked if I could take their photos as they jumped. They beamed in excitement and put on the greatest acrobatics show I’d ever seen.
Oh the joys of childhood.