Bana etlong retlobapala: examining children’s musical games on a Soweto playground

  • S Harrop-Allin


This article reports on research that investigated the rich tradition of South African urban township children’s games. Based on ethnographic observations and documentation of Soweto children’s playground games over a period of six months, this study examines musical games children at one primary school played on one day, highlighting the particularities of their musicking in an urban cultural context. The article demonstrates the way in which games interact with township musics, dance and communicative practices, and highlights features that Soweto musical games share with musical games globally, particularly children’s mobilisation of a range of multimodal resources for the purposes of musical play. The innovative, generative nature of township children’s musical games is emphasised, particularly in relation to multimodality, in order to recommend that music education take cognisance of children’s musicking outside the classroom. I argue that children’s active engagement with music deserves attention by music educators and researchers, and that musical games be recruited as resources for pedagogy to develop the design capacities and skills that children’s musical play embodies.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-626X
print ISSN: 1812-1004