By Adele van der Linde

  • Traditional Game of Jukskei: Older persons participating in the Active Ageing Programme engage in the indigenous South African sport of “Jukskei,” dating back to around 1743. Originating from Voortrekkers, it involves throwing wooden pins at a stick planted into the ground, with a complex scoring system adding depth to the game.
  • Diverse Appeal and Evolution: Despite its traditional association with Afrikaners, Jukskei has garnered wider support across cultures and age groups, evolving into a popular pastime. It stands out as one of the few sports where women and men of all ages can compete together, fostering inclusivity and diversity.
  • Personal Testimonies: Grace Mohlabine (63) and Betty Mongwali (75) of Team Limpopo share their experiences with Jukskei, highlighting its unique appeal. Grace appreciates its rarity in the country, while Betty finds the challenge enticing. Both encourage others, including the youth, to take up Jukskei, advocating for its widespread participation.

Among the interesting games older persons participate in during the Active Ageing Programme, is an indigenous sport that originated around 1743 in South Africa. “Jukskei” is believed to have been developed by “transport riders” (Voortrekkers) who traveled with ox-drawn wagons. They used the wooden pins of the yokes (in Afrikaans “juk”) and the divider (“skei”) to throw at a stick planted into the ground. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! The highly technical sport uses a scoring system that makes the game complex and challenging.

While the sport is traditionally associated with Afrikaners, it has evolved in such a way that it has received a wider support and popularity among the young and old of all cultures. It is also one of the few sporting disciplines in which women and men of all ages can compete against one another. 

Grace Mohlabine (63) and Betty Mongwali (75) have both been playing jukskei for two years and are representing Team Limpopo at the Active Aging programme in Mbombela, Mpumalanga. Grace says the reason for her choosing the game of jukskei, is because it is a sport that is not common in the country. Betty says she also decided to start playing jukskei because it is challenging and in the same breath, she encourages others to start playing jukskei, especially the youth.

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