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Royal queens, braai kings and tokoloshes – a unique board game celebrating quirky South Africanisms

Johannesburg – Playing board games is one of the Hermann’s favourite pastimes as her family looks to spend quality time together during the rush of daily life.

The family also love the bush, and in a bid to combine their two passions, they went on a hunt for a wildlife-themed game but were disappointed when there were none in sight.

“There was nothing that really captured the essence of our rainbow nation and give a tourist a little piece of South African culture to take home,” Tzvia Hermann told The Saturday Star this week.

The mother, change-maker and founder of The Beautique Group, which includes The Laser Beautique, Beautique Brands and Beautique Academy, as well as BeauRaze, was determined to set this right.

And in lockdown back in 2020, she began creating ‘African Family Queen,’ a board game full of quirky South Africanisms. The game also has educational value as it seeks to develop memory, strategy, bonds, and times tables, as well as a strong female stance.

“Although the game is light-hearted and fun, it sends a strong message of how valuable women are in our society as well as how men and women unite with a common goal of success,” said Hermann.

Entrepreneur Tzvia Hermann who is the brains behind African Family Queen Game. Supplied image.

The proudly South African game sets the scene of a magical place in SA where there are characters like a supernatural queen with a pet Lemur, ‘a King of all braais,’ a tokoloshe you can set on an opponent, or scaring a “tsotsi with your very own Sangoma.”

“When our foreign friends and colleagues visit from overseas, I try explaining our awesome South Africansims and the game really captures many,” she said.

The overall aim of the game is to collect valuable African Queens with Kings and once five queens are collected or a player collects queens to the value of 50 points, they have won the game.

Hermann said she came up with the characters as well as the concept of the game with the help of her children, nine-year-old Dayne and 10-year-old Shyla.

“I remember chatting as a family during lockdown and we were saying how we can create a game that will be all about the many we have and were told about growing up.”

“I remember telling the kids all about what a tokoloshe is and how my nanny and second mom growing up used to tell me stories about them.

Entrepreneur Tzvia Hermann’s African Family Queen board game. Supplied image.

“I generally love learning about different religions and beliefs and I consider myself spiritual and I also think that it’s so important for our kids to know all about African cultures and foods, from chakalaka to milk tart and Cape Malay wonders.”

Meanwhile, the family’s local art teacher, Mandy Sagorin, brought the ‘African Family Queen’ characters to life.

“She drew them in pencil while Shyla, Dayne and I coloured the characters when we were on holiday in Plettenberg Bay,” Hermann said.

The entrepreneur’s friend Simone Kur then digitised the artwork which was then printed.

Hermann also partnered with youth development centre Afrika Tikkun which she previously worked over during her time in assisting to build childhood development centres in townships.

“I am hoping they adopt the game and offer it to corporates as Christmas gifts and that all proceeds will go directly to Afrika Tikkun.”

Hermann also developed ‘African Family Queen’ to enable youngsters to learn as it helps with mathematics, memory, culture and heritage.

“We all learn better through play and although the game is light-hearted, it can be used as a springboard for open discussion which is important to have,” she believes.

“Although we would all like to forget the hurtful past of our country and just move on, in reality, we all need to be sensitive and understand that our country is made up of people that have grown up in different with conditioning, background and experiences and we all need to be reminded to respect each other and our differences.

“Playing games and embracing and learning from our history and ancestors is crucial and learning from our past mistakes and we as people and country will be better for it.”

Hermann is also proud of the strong message ‘African Family Queen’ sends about women.

“We know that gender-based violence stems from a history of deeply rooted gender inequality and it stems from harmful gender norms and stereotypes.

“We need to change these stereotypes and normalise the fact that women are valuable in society and that to win in the game of life we are all playing, men and women need to work together,” Hermann believes.

“You need Kings and Queens and there is no better way to teach and to create healthy new norms than through play.”

Entrepreneur Tzvia Hermann’s African Family Queen board game. Supplied image.

And while Hermann is well-versed in entrepreneurship as the founder of The Beautique Group, she said that creating ‘African Family Queen’ was a passion project for her.

“I enjoyed creating the game so much that I now have a few more goodies up my sleeves which I plan to launch under the brand name of BeauFamBrands. It’s more fun than anything and I usually work on these projects during school holidays, evenings and weekends.”

Hermann is also working on a children’s book series which is inspired by her son.

As ‘African Family Queen’ has officially launched, Hermann said that Exclusive Books, Kitch & Cool and Tourvest have all expressed interest in selling her board game.

“We just got our first order from Exclusive Books and we are hoping to have the game available at all curio shops, airports and kids toy shops.”

‘African Family Queen’ retails for R450. For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/flipping-queens

The Saturday Star

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