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Riding calves or donkeys

Mr. C Mhlongo of Ndundulu described this game as mounting on the back of a calf or a donkey and ride the animal. A calf is a young cow. A donkey is a domesticated animal almost similar to a horse but smaller. Donkeys are kept to be ridden on and to carry heavy goods.

The person consulted

Mr. C Mhlongo a 50 year old from Ndundulu, KwaZulu Natal gave an explanation about this game.

Who play this game?

This game is played by boys from the age of 6 upwards while they are herding stock.

What is used to play this game?

This game is played using calves, or donkeys and light stick/whip.

When is this game played?

This game is played during the day throughout the year.

Where is this game played?

This game is played out in the pastures during stock-herding.

How is this game played?

In an area where donkeys are kept boys would ride the donkey and race like in horse racing. In areas where donkeys are not kept boys ride calves from their herds. The adults did not like this game. The cows also did not want their calves to be ridden. But boys enjoyed to race and compete against each other for winning the race. Though there was no prize but the winner would be proud of his success.

Custom associated with this game

Customarily this game is derived from the common practice by the kings and statesmen who used to ride horses not calves. This was the mode of transportation. Therefore, boys imitated the elders by riding calves and donkeys.


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.