Mmegi Online :: Where have our traditional games gone?
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Last Updated
Friday 14 December 2018, 17:40 pm.
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Where have our traditional games gone?

Life in the olden days was golden, affordable and enjoyable. Unlike todayís generation, children used to make their own dolls out of tattered cloths and wood, and wool was used to play malepa and so many other games. Games and fun were free. Of recent these games are forgotten while a few that remain seem to be in the line of extinction.
By Nnasaretha Kgamanyane Fri 07 Nov 2014, 14:07 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Where have our traditional games gone?








Due to new technologies, change of lifestyle and transformation, traditional games adopted from earlier generations have disappeared as their progeny spend most of their time watching television sets, playing with factory-line dolls, video games, computer games and the internet.

During an interview with Arts & Culture, 18-year-old Mpho Bulala (student) said, “I know traditional games and I have played them since I was young.  Growing up at Moshupa, together with my friends I played koi (skipping rope) diketo, mantlwane (where children would mimic real family life and emulate individuals in the family). The last time I played these games was in 2011 when I then decided to focus on my studies. However, my siblings are still playing them.”

Though hesitant to comment, Kelesitse William, 17, said that she grew up playing some of the popular traditional games like morabaraba, dibeke and koi, while One Ntsi who was playing the advanced mmele at the Main Mall said that growing up in a village gave him the privilege of enjoying traditional games. 

He said he grew at Shashe-Mooke and was good at both mmele and morabaraba.

The 18 year-old said that he also played mantlwane with his friends and siblings where they each contributed some food they borrowed from home.

Thato Sefetang who seemed surprised that there might be interesting traditional games said that unlike many children who grew up in the rural areas, his parents were very particular about what he wore, what and where he played.

 “My parents bought me as many toys as possible. I grew up playing with different play stations. I had a collection of games as a result I never had time to play outside the house even after school because I was thinking about my new games. I don’t know anything about traditional games,” he said.

Like Sefetang, Mary Moraedi, 16, spent most of her time either indoors at home or at the pre-school she used to attend where she played with conventional toys with a few friends.

She said that her parents bought her many toys and that she never missed the Barbie doll collection.  She regarded homemade dolls as ugly and that they would scare her.

“I enjoyed every minute of my childhood even though I didn’t play traditional games. I believe that some of the modern games like chess, my toy house complete with dinner sets, dolls and other toys enabled me to enjoy playtime much better than other children who had to play in the dirt,” she said.

One of the senior citizens Agnes Sefako differed with what the Sefetang and Moraedi said.  The 50-year-old woman from Gabane said that during her youth there were many cost-free games played.

“I remember the days when we played koi, bolo re kapisana. We did that when we

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were done with our daily house chores. Everyday we would gather at a play group and play bolo ya dithini (a ball game where the it would be crossed over to the other side. The intention of the game is to strike the player in order to put them out of the game.  When a crew member manages to put all the tins with his or her feet in a bucket the group wins and those struck out would be saved meaning that the game would commence till all the members are out).”

“In the evening we would go back home and cook, but later at night we would pass time playing games like black mmampatile where others would hide till the one who is conducting the game finds them all. We also played ready. It is a game where we drew boxes with firewood ash at night. We would jump and when one of us would step in the line or be stepped on by one of the players she or he would be out,” she said as she recalled her youth.

Sefako also said that they played games like morabaraba, mmele, diketo and malepa, which were very helpful to them. She said that at that age, most children of her generation were not going to school so those games enabled them to learn mathematics.  Even though they are not class-educated they were able to read, add, divide and multiply because of those games.

“We might not be educated, but nobody can cheat us when it comes to adding, subtracting and multiplying. Our games boosted our intellectual ability. They also helped us unleash our creativity, as we would mould toys such as dolls, animals and other utensils around us with clay soil.

At times we would choose to make our dolls with cloths and sticks,” she added.

“Our games helped us be obedient to our parents as we played under their watch. Unlike the current generation, our parents not vice versa controlled us. We had no access to the Internet that I see children and the youth spending so much time on these days. These technologies and rights have made our children rebel against us.

They are instead controlling us and not us them. We are even afraid of them. The reason why the current generation is not as wise as we were, it is because of the things that they play with in isolation,” she added.

However, some of the government primary schools are doing their best to preserve the traditional games. They teach children, more especially those at the foundation and standard one, how to play games such as ‘wa mmona Shila’, ‘I want to see mmaJane’, ‘marantase’, ‘terena’, ‘tamati source’ and a few others.

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