Children's games and plays in Zambia

  • Mapopa Mtonga

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This is a study of some children's playtime activities in both rural and urban Zambia. Although it is based on research work specifically designed for a doctoral study, and which was carried out between 1981 and 1983 (for a period of approximately eighteen months), it is also the result of several years work with children and experiences of living both in the village and the city.

The main objective of the study is to record for posterity some of the 'unwritten culture' of young people in Zambia so that it may serve as a manual for school education, and for performance programmes around the country. Some specific examples for analysis have been drawn from the Chewa and Tumbuka of the Lundazi District, and from research done in three urban community towns of Lusaka, Ndola and Chipata.

This division between rural and urban, as well as between the rich and the poor, thus reflects the nature and diversity of the plays and games covered in the study.

A brief attempt is also made to relate the theoretical framework upon which this study is based to Western anthropological and other scholarly approaches concerning children's play. However, the analysis and interpretation of most ethnographic data collected, is based on the views of the indigenous peoples of Zambia.

The study finally concludes by offering some suggestions and recommendations on the application of its findings to future research and education development in Zambia.
Date of AwardDec 1988
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorJohn Blacking (Supervisor)

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