01 August 2022

The games feature a few codes that allow students to compete in teams or individually to participate at provincial and national level. The traditional indigenous play activities and games have been modernized. Over time, the games have become an expression of local people, culture, and social reality.

These acts were largely ignored in historical and anthropological studies of South Africa's indigenous people. The challenge was to resurrect and disseminate this rich indigenous history so that everyone may participate in traditional games.

Sport and Recreation South Africa strives to conserve and promote this rich history for future generations through indigenous games. UMP Student Division has collaborated with the Department of Sport and Recreation to bring indigenous games to the university together with the assistance of Mr Zwelakhe Masilela from UMP’s School of Social Sciences.

"We have the support from the Department of Sports and Recreation who have assisted us with coordinators of each sporting code. The games are now played by rules that have been approved by the Department of Sports,” said Mr Masilela.


Students play a game of Diketo, one of 10 recognized indigenous games in South Africa. 

“The indigenous games have countless benefits, which include assisting students to forge careers in certain codes, including coordinators and managers. These will open countless opportunities for students.

Some of the games that were introduced are Dibeke, Kho-kho, Kgati, Diketo and Morabaraba.

Mr Masilela added: “After the launch, the participants of Dibeke and Diketo competed at the indigenous games regional competition, which was held at the Kamagugu stadium. The participants brought so much fun and also taught students how the games are being played since they are interested in being part of the initiative but do not know how to play.”

UMP participated in the Ehlanzeni Indigenous Games Competition Day after the launch. Five students were selected to represent the Ehlanzeni District at the Provincial games that will be held in Middleburg (date to be announced). 

@Story and pictures Cleopatra Makhaga.