Where would you wear Dodo sandals? Can that question ever appear in a quiz show? Why not? And let’s say it can, would you choose to call a friend or rely on the remaining strands of your history classes with Madame Dupont (Madame Dupont?…I find that Madame Dupont sounds more cultivated.) Yes, you would wear them in Mauritius.
Dodo sandals (savat dodo or savat leponz in Mauritian Creole) have long been the favourite of Mauritians until sadly swept away by both new local and foreign brands.
Two to three decades ago, piles of Dodo sandals would be seen on the waxed flooring or at the doorstep of Mauritian houses and of temples. Despite they all looked the same at different sizes of course, each owner knew exactly which pair belonged to him. A matter of …flair? I would rather say by how worn out or new they were.
It looks like at some point in time, Dodo sandals were viewed as being shoes for the poor. But lately, a number of local magazines have devoted long articles on Dodo sandals, as a reflection on a symbol of identity or as a way to remind people of the good old times.
Dodo sandals are no more produced locally but are now imported and can thus still be found in local tabagies*.
Make sure you get a pair on your next visit to reminisce the bitter gourd time*.
*tabagies are part of the Mauritian landscape. They are generally corner shops now mostly located in rural areas and suburbs where inhabitants would meet in the afternoon to have beer and rum and where basic food items and daily commodities can be purchased.
*bitter gourd time is directly translated from Mauritian Creole which is often employed on reminiscence of the hard times when money was scarce. Bitter gourd is still common in Mauritian dishes and not only that it tastes bitter but it also does not have an appealing aspect.
January 23rd, 2017. Mauritius
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