From Community Memory
Swimming refers to getting into a pool and paddle. Here it appeared as if a big hole had been dug and broadened over time. The depth was also specified. This portion of the pool had the most water than the rest of the river. Mr. Ngema gave an explanation about this practice.
The person consulted
The researcher spoke to Mr. A Ngema about how this game is played who also clarified some terms associated with this game.
Who play this game?
This game is played by boys when they are out in the pastures.
What is used to play this game?
This game is played in the pool area of the river.
When is this game played?
This game is played during the sunny hot summer days.
Where is this game played?
This game is played in the pool. Many rivers in this country have pools either small or big. Boys used to herd stock where there is a river nearby so that they can swim. These were games they played during the swim. Boys would first inspect if the pool has no danger or dangerous animals on it. They checked the depth of the pool whether it would be suitable. Then they would jump into the safe area of the pool where there are no rocks. They would line up and jump hands first into the pool.
How is this game played?
Mr. A Ngema says that free-style is one of the techniques of swimming done by children. Each child would strike water as he wishes. The child floats on the water on his stomach and strikes the water using feet while paddling the way through with his hands which shift water to the back and thus the body is propelled forward. Children would line up and jump into the pool simultaneously and compete for finishing first. There was no prize for the winner since children were playing on their own.
This technique involved swimming through by hitting water using feet. Boys would line up and start simultaneously from one end to the other competing for the first time oning position. The first to finish wins and prides himself for being faster than the rest of the boys though no prize was awarded for this.
Diving is another swimming technique. Boys also compete for the best diver. They line up and dive from one end of the pool to the other. The first to finish wins. When they dive they jump into the pool head first and paddle under water.
Boys play crocodile game in the pool. One boy is chosen to be the crocodile. He slips under water and catches the other boys as they swim. The ones caught also become crocodiles and catch others until everybody is caught and becomes a crocodile. Then they would start afresh and another boy starts to be the crocodile.
Custom associated with this game
Most rivers in KwaZulu are infested with crocodiles which are dangerous because they devour people. This game taught boys to be cautious of crocodiles and be aware of their danger. Diving and free-style taught boys to swim as experts so that they can swim through flooded rivers.
From a Masters dissertation by Victoria Mkhize for the School of IsiZulu, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Supervised by Professors P.J. Zungu and V. Prabhakaran.