Boruboru: South Sudan’s newest spectator sport is one for the girls

Sep 6, 2018 by

Think you’re good at dodgeball? See how long you last in boruboru, a traditional playground game. Formal leagues are giving girls who grew up amid the civil war more opportunities to dive, dodge, and throw.

Esther Ruth Mbabazi A player dodges the ball during a match between the New Generation and Rock City teams in Juba, South Sudan. Through the games, the Boruboru National Association aims to inspire girls to have the courage to strive for their dreams, and to be resilient.

By Ryan Lenora Brown –

Picture if dodgeball met gymnastics on the clay courts of the French Open. Then picture if a couple of Major League Baseball pitchers showed up. Now picture that the athletes throwing and acrobatically evading those fastballs are girls ages 10 to 18 living in a country that has been at war with itself more often than not. This is boruboru, South Sudan’s most beloved playground game. And today, it’s South Sudan’s newest spectator sport. The capital city’s first official league got off the ground in 2015, blending the game’s traditional improvisation with hard-and-fast rules. Lithe, fluid dodgers take quick turns being pelted by two opposing players, and avoiding their hits is no simple thing – knowing how to handstand comes in handy. At a recent Saturday game, many spectators in the three-deep crowd are men. But the stars are girls, finding strength and sheer fun and community in a country where women have often been war’s targets. “This sport is only for us,” says Peace, age 14. Her team, New Generation, plays in highlighter-yellow uniforms that read “Women can change the world.”

Source: The Christian Science Monitor Daily for September 5, 2018

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