Indigenous Games

I grew up in the Cayman Islands. I didn’t play video games or watch TV. I would basically come home from school, throw down my backpack, grab my machete, and go hike and chop down trees to make a fort.

Author : Armie Hammer

Growing up in the villages and townships was fun because of the activities we used to play on the streets and got dirty. Playing outside of the yard used to get me into trouble with my mother. She did not quite like to see me aimlessly hovering around the streets. Unfortunately, it was not possible to keep me indoors unless we lived in the suburbs. If it was by choice, my mother would resist me from playing on the streets. To be in her good books, I made sure every time I came back from school, I do all my schoolwork and ran outside the yard to play. My street was known as a place where all indigenous games were played. I was the mastermind behind every game!

Before the hype of technology and PlayStations, these were the only games we knew in which we built strong relationships amongst each other. This is where we learned teamwork, communication, and trust. During lessons at school, I would strategize yet another way to beat my peers this time around. I was the mastermind behind every game which my friends would always fight for me to be in their team if we play against each other in groups.

Here are some of the indigenous I used to play. I know you can relate.


Instagram photo
  • Diketo can be played in either a drawn circle on the floor or in a shallow hole dug on the ground. Each player tries to get the most stones, throw one stone in the air, and catch the rest one by one from the hole. We used to dig holes on the streets such that one of the neighbors complained that we should never dig any hole in front of her house.


Facebook photo
  • Kgati was my favorite game because I was thin, flexible and tall. It is a rope-skipping game between three people. Two people swing the skipping rope and the third person jumps in different ways, usually singing and chanting. The fun of the game is that as you chant in the middle, you must make sure the rope does not stick between the legs. It was an advantage for me because I was thin, the rope never got stuck between my legs. I would chant till the other two ladies complain that they are tired. It was fun. By the time I come back home, I would be dusty all over my clothes. My mother would shout at me. HahahhHahaha


  • Maskitlana is the game where all the storytelling developed. I used to sit in the backyard alone and collected various stones and spoke to them. They all had names, characters and I would always think about the following episode. It was as if I was telling someone a story because the stones would speak to each other. At times my friends would gather around and listen to me. We all knew who told the best stories. There was always someone we always looked forward to hearing what she came up with. It used to be fun because you can never guess what the story would turn out to be. The suspicion kept us coming back the next day.


Instagram photo
  • I never got an opportunity to play Morabaraba. Kids from affluent families mainly had the game. Around my home, most of us were not quite well off. So we did not have the game as it was expensive. It is a board game that looks like chess. Rich kids mainly used it to share the cattle and to formulate war strategies. We did not have cattle at our homes, hence we never had it.


  • This game remains my favorite where one person will hide the belt and when he’s done, he’ll call out “soek-soek banana”. Everyone will start looking for a belt. Whoever finds the belt first would hit everyone with it until they go back to the home so that he can go hide it again. It was fun because it taught us to be strategic and vigilant.


Instagram photo
  • I used to love playing mgusha. It was easy for me because of my tall thin legs. This is a game mainly played by girls and we would use an old pantihose then cut it and tie it in knots to make one single round long piece. My team always won as I said, I was a mastermind behind every game.


Instagram photo
  • This where we play “house”. Where there is a mother, father snd children. I have always been given a role of a mother amongst my peers. I learned to nurture the responsible role of womanhood with this game. I would cook, bathe and do all the house chores as expected from a mother. I inserted a cloth on my chest as if it’s breast and act like I’m breastfeeding my doll. I do not have a child of my own, but I know that I will make a great mother because of the lessons I learned from this game many years ago. The motherly instinct was nurtured well there.


Facebook photo
  • My petite body played a huge role as it helped me to do well in all the games. The attacking team tries to kick the ball away from the defenders, while the defenders use their hands to get the ball. The attackers scores when they have moved the ball down the entire length of the field. When all the attackers are out, the defenders get a chance to try and score. One of the characteristics of this game is fitness and activeness. I was not good but my petite body worked for me because of my speed.

Varied indigenous games should be celebrated and revived to embrace the African Revitalization. Toddlers can meet up once in a while at the parks, particulate in various indigenous games together to popularize cultural activities so that they can know their origin before they become consumed by computers and PlayStations. Indigenous games are still fun and educative.

What other indigenous games did you play in your childhood? My international friends, please tell me about indigenous games in your countries. Do the younger ones still play indigenous games?

As always, please do not forget to check out my other posts below.

From my heart to yours.

53 thoughts on “Indigenous Games

  1. Cycle tyre๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡yes I still remember it. It was mostly used as a car by boys.
    This was fun. I guess technology stole the beauty of outdoor din amongst the younger ones, unfortunately.


  2. Haha the Indian version of some of these games, which we used to play in our childhood
    DIKETO- Kancha (instead of stones we use beautiful little marbel balls, the process is exactly same but whoever is able to take out the balls from the pit,the marbel becomes there)
    KGATI- simply skipping ropes , sometimes two girls together jump ropes while the other two girls swing the rope…
    MANTLWANE- Ghar-ghar aka Home-Home , one become father, other mother , dolls are the babies and we all bring our plastic, small kitchen sets and apparently serve the best leaves and flowers ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…
    And many more of you mentioned….. the basic premise and techniques remain the same , just name changes from here to there…. we actually used to play, get our clothes dirty but all the mind gets refreshed and happy

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Wow Kancha. We did use marbles as well and it was more smoother.
    You also have Kgati?? Won’t

    Absolutely…we’d make meals and feed the dolls as babies. Hahahhahahah
    We had so much. I used to get a beating when I came back because my clothes were always dirty.

    Thank you for reading ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was so fun to read!!!! Like Shivani mentioned – Indian kids had a WHOLE bunch of games that we’d play when we were younger.
    CHUPAN CHUPAI – basically hide & seek
    STAPOO – where we’d use a chalk and draw these boxes on the road. Then we’d write numbers on the boxes from 1-9. So on your first go you had to get a stone to land in the box with 1, then jump through all the other boxes in a sequence and come back to the beginning. Then you had to land the stone on number 2. and so on. If you couldn’t land the stone in the box number you were at, you had to let the next person go.
    PITTU – where two teams would compete. We’d pile up a bunch of stones and one team had to break the pile with a ball and rearrange them back while the other team tried to hit them with the ball to get them out.
    This post reminded me of all those fun childhood days that I spent on the road with my siblings and friends playing the funnest games.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Diketo is called nhodo is Shona. House was always my favourite and l wanted to portray the role of a mother. The children imitated their parents and it was fun too. Unfortunately these days the children prefer spending time watching the tv but the games taught us how to concentrate, work together and it was good exercise.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I enjoyed playing chuoan chupai๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†
    Wow stapoo sounds interesting. I think I’ll copy and paste it and suggest to the Sunday school teachers. The kids would love it.

    Hah hah I did play Pittu
    I was always the last one to be hit by the ball. Talk about flexibility๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†
    Childhood nostalgia


  7. Nhodo๐Ÿ‘

    You were like me. I always wondered why my friends would give me the role of a mother.๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜† still wondering

    Today the younger ones know computers and PlayStations. They are having it good. Their lives are smooth ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†we had so much and we learned from the games.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Laughing at some of the familiar games we have festivals in Uganda where they try to play these games only at those festivals it’s always interesting.

    Some are new to me like the one of the belt๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    We had one where you chase people and each person you touch freezes doesn’t move they can only be saved if another kid comes and passes between the legs hence the cycle it was so continuous.

    Aaaah how I hope our children can learn some of these games.

    Thanks for bringing me memories

    Liked by 2 people

  9. That’s amazing๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†
    Festivals are always interesting. We do have them annually but I wish we could play them more..not only on a particular day, especially the younger ones.

    That sounds like an interesting game. I will surely try this one at family gatherings.
    Play stations should just rest for a minute and allow us to enjoy the beauty which comes with all the cultural games.
    Thank you so much, my Queen


  10. Yes, but how does one revive them in this day and age, when the streets are to scary and others are digital natives. Play has become structured even out in the parks and playgrounds. Maybe teachers in play should reintroduce these games during break, but I guess they are too exhausted with their daily teaching schedules and dealing with angry young people in the class setup itself.
    You are most welcome

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree with you
    I like the idea of reviving the games in schools during break time and physical education. It’s going to be difficult though…children are already consumed by technology and it’s okay. As long as they benefit..we cannot blame them. That’s today’s normal and there’s nothing we can do.

    Glad we got the opportunity to participate in these games whilst there was still time.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes yes we need to incorporate it in family gatherings that would be fun to teach the children the games

    Thanks for rekindling us…


  13. But believe you me, there is method in my mad thinking. If the teacher would get creative about, drag the kids out of the class for 10 minutes of a lesson, is thr most invigorating thing you can do for them. Releases pent up feelings and learning anxieties.
    Yes, we can only look back and say, they were good days.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wonderful post Lebogamg. I can relate to so many of these games I have played in my childhood days with my cousins and friends. Completely agree with you – these games are not just fun to play – they helped us strengthen our relationship with our friends. The new age generation is definitely missing some of the life lessons learned through these outdoor games. Great post ๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 2 people

  15. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
    My Mom tried to teach me some, but they all seemed to involve stones and sticks. ๐Ÿ˜…
    And sure!๐Ÿ˜Š


  16. My neighbour once commented to me that it is a shame that kids don’t play outside they way they used to. We walked down memory lane of playing handball and cricket on the road, riding bikes we salvaged from the rubbish tip and rebuilt, exploring bushland and having adventures. How if you were at a mates place around a mealtime then you were fed along with everyone else.
    This was back in the 1970’s when times were hard and we all had to ‘make do and mend’. It seems that modern times have lost these simple pleasures and the sense of community that came with it.


  17. I agree with you
    Times have changed and we should also evolve but I also feel pity for today’s kids because they are missing out on the joy, pleasures, and lessons which came with all their outdoor games. I guess they’ll just have to resort to the stories we will tell them.


  18. Ohh… this post makes me miss my childhood days. We also play this traditional game in Indonesia. We cannot get this cheerful atmosphere from Google Play Store.

    Greeting from Indonesia.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s