Using indigenous games and knowledge to decolonise the school curriculum: Ubuntu perspectives

  • Sabelo Abednego Nxumalo University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Dumisani Wilfred Mncube University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, Ubuntu philosophy, African child, Indigenous games


This paper foregrounds the value of the inclusion of Ubuntu philosophy in the school curriculum using indigenous games. There has been increased interest emanating from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in the inclusion of Ubuntu philosophy in the mainstream school curriculum. The DBE has identified indigenous knowledge as an asset that can be integrated into the school curriculum in order to educate African children about Ubuntu philosophy, moral and cultural beliefs. The efficacy of indigenous methods to teach schoolchildren these important concepts has, however, largely remained an untapped area of study. The aim of this paper is to illustrate how Ubuntu philosophy can be taught in the school curriculum using selected indigenous isiZulu games. Using Mbigi’s Collective Fingers Theory, we analyse three isiZulu indigenous games and demonstrate that indigenous games can be successfully used to teach Ubuntu philosophy. The paper contributes to the ongoing debates about the value of African Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AIKS), such as Ubuntu philosophy, in teaching decolonised curriculum content and instilling moral principles and cultural beliefs such as the value of communal identity.


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