Indigenous games of South African children: a rationale for categorization and taxonomy

  • Cora Burnett Department of Sport and Movement Studies, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Republic of South Africa


In the international area of sport and national educational spheres traditional and/or indigenous games are instrumental in resisting cultural imperialism, developing a national identity and branding national unity. Local research and educational programmes are proliferating and may benefit from scientific inquiry. The aim of this paper is to provide a framework for categorizing indigenous games of South Africa that could be utilized for research and implementation. This paper draws on the National Indigenous Games Research Project of 2001/2002 in which 11 tertiary institutions collaborated. They collected data from 6489 participants through questionnaires, triangulated with focus groups, case studies, observations and visual recordings. The sample is representative of an ethnic, gender, geographic (urban and rural), and socio-economic diversity in all nine provinces of the Republic of South Africa. This paper offers a rationale for an ethno-scientific taxonomy, representing a culturally informed reconstruction of South African children's games as microcosm of their lived experiences.

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Vol. 28(2) 2006: 1-13

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069