Cultural dimensions of children's games and play behaviour in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa

  • C. Burnett
  • G.J. Sierra


The socio-cultural analysis of games and play behaviour is an integral exponent of anthropological research, contributing to the understanding of the dialectical relationship between play and culture. This paper aims to provide an overview of literature and to implement interpretative concepts for the analysis of selected cultural dimensions of children's games and play behaviour in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. The research was conducted in 2002 as part of a national survey. The conceptual framework for this analysis mainly draws on interpretive traditions within the social sciences such as symbolic interactionism, linguistics and cultural studies. Quantitative (questionnaire) and qualitative (focus groups, case studies and visually recorded observations) methods were triangulated to constitute context and content. Data was collected from 180 children among whom 120 grade sevens completed questionnaires and the others participated in focus groups and demonstrations. The senior citizens (n=13) were from an old people's home in Calvinia. The participants mainly represented the white and coloured population groups, as these groups were dominant in the five schools (two urban and three rural) targeted for the research. Classification categories, game preferences, content, behaviour and context provided the text for analysis and interpretation.
Key words: Indigenous games, play culture, Northern Cape.

(Af. J. Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance: 2003 Special Edition: 26-49)

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939