Social Workers’ Reflections on Utilising Indigenous Games in Child Counselling


  • Maud Mthembu University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Nozuko Mkhize



play therapy, indigenous games, children, counselling


This paper reports on the adaptation of local indigenous children’s games in South Africa that can be integrated during child counselling. There is a plethora of literature that advocates for the reconceptualisation of social work in non-western societies to align it with the values of clients being served. However, there is a dearth of literature on available indigenous social work games that can be applied particular in child counselling. Using a qualitative design, six social work practitioners, purposively sampled, were individually interviewed to explore their integration of indigenous games during child counselling. The findings indicate that through reflexivity, social workers learn and observe context-relevant knowledge from the communities they serve and that accumulated knowledge informs innovative practice interventions in social work. In this paper, children’s social background, culture, play behaviours and community assets informed social workers’ choice of the games they could incorporate in child counselling. The integration of local games, such as Uchiki, Umangqalutye, Eight Stones and riverbank clay, in child counselling sessions promotes a sense of mutual learning that benefits the helping profession to deliver a context-relevant service.


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Author Biographies

Maud Mthembu, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Lecturer: School of Applied Human Sciences

Nozuko Mkhize

Please contact lead author for details...




How to Cite

Mthembu, Maud, and Nozuko Mkhize. 2019. “Social Workers’ Reflections on Utilising Indigenous Games in Child Counselling”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 31 (2):15 pages.



Received 2018-09-22
Accepted 2019-06-14
Published 2019-09-11