Stick felling

Mr. Dlamini of Ophepheni, Highflats described felling as the cutting down of tree branches. Sticks were made from the tree branches. The branch is cut and chipped off until perfectly smooth.


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

The person consulted
Mr. D Dlamini of Ophepheni, Highflats was consulted about how tree felling is done.

Who plays this game?
This game is played by boys from the age of 10 years upwards.

What equipment is used to play this game?
Boys used bush-knives and small axes to fell sticks.

When is the game played?
Sticks are felled during the day in winter when trees are without fruit.

Where is the game played?
This game took place in the forest where good sticks will be found.

How is this game played?
Boys invited each other to go for stick-felling. They would bring bush-knives and axes if they have these at their homes. They also brought chopping knives to cut branches. Boys living in a desert area would go to a bushy area where different trees will be found to fell their sticks from. Types of trees from which good sticks were made included: Wild olive tree, Bush-veld tree, the strong-wooded coastal trees, forest tree producing edible berries, and various other trees. This is not an easy, straightforward practice. Even if a person has found trees to fell, he would have to look for straight branches which would make good sticks and then he could start felling.

This game was performed in winter because stock is not monitored at this time since fields would have been harvested. This time was chosen because tree-felling is time-consuming. Boys would gather the branches felled into a bundle and bring it back home. At home they would carefully chip off the branches, cut sticks into desired length and finish them off nicely so that very good sticks result.

Custom associated with this game
Traditionally, African people carry sticks wherever they go. That is why boys learnt to fell sticks at an early age and perfect their skill as they grow up and have no difficulty as adults. Boys loved their sticks since they would have worked very hard felling them.

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.

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