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Taking a sickle and cutting rush

According to Ms. G Mkhize, a sickle is a bent iron with sharp tooth used to cut grass. Rush is long thick bladed grass growing in swamps and used to make sleeping mats.

The person consulted

Ms. G Mkhize gave an explanation about this game.

Who play this game?

This game is played by girls between the ages of 4 -10.

What is used to play this game?

Nothing is used to play this game.

When is this game played?

This game is played during the day if it is not raining throughout the year.

Where is this game played?

This game is played in an open cleared spot.

How is this game played?

Children stand in a line. The one at the first position leads the rest of the group. She runs ahead while singing and the rest of the group follows copying all she does.
Umholi : Walithath’ isikela wayisika incema
Abalandeli : Walithath’ isikela wayisika incema
Umholi : Sithi E! Mngane!
Abalandeli : Sithi E! Mngane!

When the leader says “She took the sickle and cut the rush” she runs around and all others follow her. When she says “We say Greetings! Friend!” she stops and pretends to be kneeling with one knee and with hands up like praising somebody. The group follows suit.

Custom associated with this game

It was a tradition for African women to have chants which were led by one leader and the rest of the group would follow her. Even during cultural dancing, for women there would be a leader and the rest of the group would follow the leader’s actions.


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.