Indigenous games and play behaviour of children in Gauteng Province, South Africa

  • C. Burnett
  • W. J. Hollander
  • C. Singh
  • C.S. Fortuin


Research on play behaviour and games within the South African context has over the years been ad hoc, guided by considerations for practical applications and often lacking in a clear theoretical framework. A national survey launched in 2001 set the theoretical and methodological parameters of which the research in central and southern Gauteng region served as a pilot. The conceptual framework for this research predominantly draws on interpretive anthropological traditions and ethnology in which the participants' perceptions and lived realities are mediated and reflected upon. Quantitative (questionnaire) and qualitative methods (focus groups, case studies and visually recorded observations) were triangulated to constitute context and content. Data was collected from 61 senior citizens and 267 grade seven learners, representing the ethnic, gender, age, geographical (urban and rural), and socio-economic diversity of the region. A total of 379 games were collected and categorized in a ‘game map' according to a participant-constructed classification. Socio-cultural and ecological dimensions of games relate to the play behaviour, game preference and role identification. Children are the main creators of indigenous games to which significant others contribute through the socialization process. Recommendations are offered for future research and the dissemination of results.
Keywords: Indigenous games, play, Gauteng, South Africa.

(Af. J. Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance: 2003 Special Edition: 15-25)

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939