Zulu boys fighting for ‘iphaphu’ (lung)

Fighting for a piece of meat ‘iphaphu’ (lung) by boys is an indigenous game that is only perfomed during a feast at a homestead during a ceremonial ritual. A cow is slaughtered then ‘iphaphu’ should only be eaten by boys.
Rules of eating iphaphu
The boys are given this piece of meat and they need to take it outside of the home yard. They can stick the lung on to a stick and make it stand at the centre of all the boys. If they use this method they do stick fighting for the meat, the boy who manages to beat everybody takes the piece of meat cooks and eat it. Or they can put in the beeshive then the boys must find it from the beeshive or they can throw it in water and each person is given a chance to try and take it out of the water by using mouth only, if the boy couldn’t take the meat they can take turns. When the boy catches it then he will have to fight the whole group until he wins to prove that he is the winner and is called ‘ingqwele’ meaning a champion. The game can be played by a group of boys.

The boys can only fight by using sticks; fists and by kicking each other. During the fight, weapons like knives, guns and other dangerous weapons are not allowed.

Aim of the game
Is to mould boys to become strong and be able to stand for themselves in future and be able to become a good and responsible fathers in their families, to be able to protect their families, be able to cope in difficult situations that he will face when he is growing up.

By: Bongiwe Ndlovu


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