In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

17 Chapter Two Children’s Traditional Games as Indigenous Knowledge Systems The subject of children’s traditional games has attracted the attention of researchers and scholars especially in the fields of African studies, literature and anthropology for some time now. I have however observed that most of the earlier works on children’s traditional games and in particular, children’s traditional games in Zimbabwe, have focused much on their recording mainly as comprehension passages in Shona textbooks. C.J. Ngwaru1 , G. Matindike2 and A.C. Hodza3 textbooks are cases in point. In addition to that, these works make little or no analysis of the multi - dimensional role of these games to the African child. An addition of the latter component and methodology adopted in gathering material for this study makes this book different and more suitable for use by Anthropologists, students and instructors in the areas of African studies and Physical education. Also, it is worth mentioning that besides Michael Gelfand’s4 book, ‘Growing Up In Shona Society’, no other comprehensive anthropological text has been produced so far that looks at indigenous knowledge systems in general and in particular children’s traditional games in Zimbabwe. Yet while Gelfand’s text lays an important background for future anthropological researches, it has many visible misrepresented facts, by default or otherwise, about the Shona society. Besides, the text though mentions some of the children’s traditional games among the Shona people, it exclusively focus on how the Shona child is brought up from pregnancy through adolescence to adulthood. Children’s traditional 18 games are therefore mentioned in passing and not in great detail especially as a genre of indigenous knowledge system. Gelfand’s treatment of children’s traditional games thus seems accidental which makes his book, particularly the part he talks of children’s traditional games, less comprehensive. Worse still, the data on children’s games he considered were solely collected from informants in urban schools (students in urban schools) yet he claimed to be looking at the children’s traditional games among the Shona people of Zimbabwe. In anthropological circles such a ‘haste’ generalization is never tolerated as it can be dangerous and misleading given that no country can be considered homogenous. In fact there are always variations throughout the country even where we talk of a particular well known traditional game such as ‘tsoro’ (draughts). It is therefore out of all these reasons that I was motivated and found it a worthwhile endeavour to carry out an ethnographic study on this important aspect of the Shona people in the south-eastern part of Zimbabwe; to examine the contribution of indigenous knowledge systems and in particular children’s traditional games to the moral teaching, cognitive, social and physical development of the Shona child. This book therefore is an attempt to make a comprehensive study of the Shona indigenous knowledge systems and in particular children’s traditional games in South-eastern Zimbabwe. Yet critical scholars may still question the ‘scientific’ genre to which children’s traditional games belong. In fact one may want to know if children’s traditional games can be classified as an art or a science. To this question, I answer with confidence that children’s traditional games, especially those studied in this book can safely fall under both sciences and arts. As an art, children’s traditional games especially those found in the traditional villages of Zimbabwe shows a high 19 degree of abstract thinking on how the games came into being and help to shape and sharpen the mind of the Shona child. And as a science, the games are not played in a haphazard manner but a number of well-defined procedures are followed in order to successfully play them. In fact the procedures like those in sciences are empirically verifiable and based on the propositions of ‘If…., then…..’ If you fail to follow the procedures required to play a particular game, then you are playing a different game altogether. This is not to say that children’s traditional games studied in this book fall under the so-called ‘Natural sciences’ but ‘Social sciences’, and in particular they fall under ‘African science’ generally known as African indigenous knowledge systems (IKSs). In the preceding paragraphs, I have defined indigenous knowledge systems as a complex set of knowledge and technologies existing and developed around specific conditions of populations and communities indigenous to a particular geographic area.5 I have also made it clear that what commonly underlies all these...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.