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Tossing up stones

Mrs. N Sibiya explains that in this game stones are put into a circle then the player would use one stone which she tosses in the air as she removes a few from the circle, toss again and return them leaving only one.

The person consulted

The researcher spoke to Mrs. N Sibiya about this game. She explained that the player would look for a well-shaped stone to use as a “tossing stone” when she plays. The tossing stone is thrown up and caught again during the game but if the player misses to catch the tossing stone, she is out of the game.

Who play this game?

This game is played by girls from the ages of 4 – 10. Boys also play this game and they would refer to the stones in the circle as the cows.

What is used to play this game?

This game is played using a lot of small stones. Children would either dig a small hole or draw a circle from which to play.

When is this game played?

This game is played at any time during the day if it is not raining.

Where is this game played?

This game can be played anywhere as long as there is a flattened space, not too big.

How is this game played?

Children look for small stones and look for a perfect spot in the yard. They dig a small hole or draw a circle. The collected stones are put inside this circle. Each child looks for her tossing stone. Then the girls would play interchangeably. Each player plays until she misses to catch her tossing stone then she passes the turn to the next player.

Children would sit around the circle of stones. They play and take turns according to their seating arrangement. If all the stones from the circle have been played, players return their accumulated stones into the circle. The person who manages to take for herself all the stones even those of her opponents is regarded as the winner. When the second round of the game starts, the girls would be removing two stones at each toss. Stones are referred to as cows during the game.

Custom associated with this game

From this game, children learn that one has to work hard and be strategic in order to gain wealth. Since the game starts with removing one stone at each toss then two, three and so on; children learn to calculate and to be very vigilant.


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.