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Carving ladles (Spoons)

Mr. Dlamini of Ophepheni says that carving is the making of wooden spoons from tree branches.

The person consulted

Since carving is related to tree-felling, Mr. D Dlamini of Highflats explained how spoons are carved.

Who plays this game?

This game is played by older boys from 10 years upwards.

What equipment is used to play this game?

To carve boys would use bush-knives, small axes, and chopping knives.

When is this game played?

This game is played during the day and at any time of the year.

Where is this game played?

This game is played in the forest but may be finished off in the homestead.

How is this game played?

Boys would go to the bushy areas to fell trees to carve from. Boys would usually carve small items like spoons to eat food and sour cream. They also carved large ladles for dishing food and stirring sticks. When boys have returned home from felling trees, each boy would decide what to carve from the branches he collected. They would hollow out wood in order to produce these. This task takes a number of days to complete. The boys would work on their items day by day at home until they are finished.

Custom associated with this game

Carving equipped boys for their future. Some boys wanted to have items to showcase and be proud of when they are old. Even these days carved items and ornaments are used to decorate households, most of which was carved by young boys. Other people end up taking up carving as a career which sustains their living.


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.