Hunting for field-rats
Mr. Xulu of Nkwenkwe, KwaZulu Natal described hunting as going out to look for something. Field-rats are a large species of rats eaten by herd-boys.
The person consulted
The researcher spoke to Mr. K Xulu of Nkwenkwe, Melmoth, KwaZulu Natal who explained how field-rats are hunted.
Who play this game?
This game is played by boys from the age of 6 to 10.
What is used to play this game?
Boys bring sticks and knob-kerries to knock down field-rats.
When is the game played?
This game is played during the day in summer time in the areas which are grassy.
How is the game played?
In the past boys really liked this game. Field-rats would be found in the thick undergrowth. They formed tracks around the area where they are. This made it easy for boys to find them because they would follow the tracks. Boys would invite each other to go for field-rats hunting. When they find the tracks they would divide themselves and encircle the tracks. Some boys will continue to follow the tracks until the field-rats become aware of the intruders and then try to escape. As they do so the other boys in the outer circle will attack and kill the field-rats. Usually they would be killed in numbers. Boys would then make fire and roast their kills.
Custom associated with this game
As grown men hunt for game, young boys start by hunting field-rats and as they also grow older start hunting game. In the olden days hunting was one of the ways of sustaining living. It was through field-rat hunting that boys learnt skills for hunting game as grown ups.
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.