Jump to: navigation, search

Playing dolls

Mrs. A Dlamini of Ophepheni, Highflats says dolls are babies created by children when they play pretend houses. They use pieces of cloth or clay or maize cob to create these babies. However, in modern times dolls are bought from the shops ready for use.

The person consulted

The researcher spoke to Mrs. Alice Dlamini of Ophepheni, Highflats who gave an explanation about this game.

Who play this game?

This game is played by girls between the ages of 4 and 12.

What is used to play this game?

Different materials are used to play this game. These include pieces of cloth, clay, and shelled maize cobs.

When is the game played?

This game is played at any time when children play pretend houses.

Where is the game played?

This game is played in the homesteads or where the pretend houses are.

How is the game played?

Children used pieces of cloth to make dolls to play with. A big cloth would be cut and shaped like a baby with arms and legs. Then it will be sewn together and stuffed with other pieces of cloth to make a doll. The head part is done and also sewn into the body part. The girls would then sew clothes for their dolls.

Sometimes girls made dolls out of mealies cobs. Each girl would have her own cob to be her baby. They would sew clothes for their babies and give them names. Sometimes clay was used to make dolls. Even those dolls would have clothes sewn for them and they would also be named.

When girls play dolls, each girl would have her own doll. Babies are clothed and fed by their mothers but the food ended up being eaten by the mothers. At certain times they are put to sleep. They are also bathed and their clothes changed.

Sometimes the child mothers would carry their children on their backs when they walk around. They would find sling to carry them with. They even used towels, head scarves and any other large cloth they could find to carry their babies with. The girls would at times borrow their mothers’ clothes, high-heeled shoes, wear head gears and appear like real grown ups.

Custom associated with this game

Through this game girls learn to be responsible future women who take good care of their children. This is in accordance with the tradition of the African people.


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.