Building houses

This game refers to the practice by children to build play houses outside the homestead. Further explanation was given by Mrs MaNdlovu of KwaSithebe, KwaZulu.


1 The person consulted
2 Who plays this game?
3 What is used to play the game?
4 When is the game played?
5 Where is this game played?
6 How is this game played?
7 Custom associated with this game
8 Source

The person consulted
The researcher spoke to Mrs MaNdlovu Mkhize of KwaSithebe who is 70 years old. She explained in detail about this game.

Who plays this game?
This game is played by girls.

What is used to play the game?
There are a number of things required to play this game. All the material used to build a house like withies, grass and others. For the interior, they used tins as pots, broken cups, other utensils and food stuff, cooked and raw.

When is the game played?
This game is played during the day if it is not raining throughout the year.

Where is this game played?
This game is played just outside the homestead, not far off.

How is this game played?
Houses are built using any material which is available like withies and grass. Sometimes sail, plastic or pieces of corrugated iron are used if found. When houses have been built, the girls look for furniture like chairs and utensils to serve food on. Food can be obtained from the homestead or they could cook their own food in these pretend houses. Tins are normally used to cook the food.

Food prepared here would usually be potatoes, tubers and eggs. Tea is easily made using tins. Tins are also used to fetch water either from the homestead or from the river. In these pretend houses there would be mothers, fathers and children. Children from neighbouring homesteads would play together and create a small village of pretend houses. The girls would use dolls as children or even the very young ones would be children of the pretend homes. In these houses the girls would imitate the real life that they witness in their households. Even if there are domestic quarrels in their real homes, these would be seen in the pretend homes. The reverse is also true. Everything done in their real homes would be done in the pretend homes. They even hit children if that is the life they experience in their homes.

Custom associated with this game
This game trains young girls for their adult life as mothers and keepers of their households. It trains them to be good caregivers to their households and their children. This is a way of life for the African people.

From a Masters dissertation by Victoria Mkhize for the School of IsiZulu, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Supervised by Professors P.J. Zungu and V. Prabhakaran.

Leave a Comment