Infusing Morabaraba game design to develop a cybersecurity awareness game (CyberMoraba)


  • Mike Wa Nkongolo University of Pretoria



Cybersecurity, Serious Game, Game Design, Game Mechanics, Cybersecurity Awareness, Game Theory, Education


Numerous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Cybersecurity Awareness Games (CAGs) in enhancing the security posture of diverse organizations. As these organizations increasingly face the formidable challenge of cyberattacks, implementing serious CAGs to solve this issue has become a paramount concern. This article introduces an innovative approach to cybersecurity education by presenting a serious CAG. The game aims to effectively educate students about critical aspects of cybersecurity awareness engagingly and interactively. The study aimed to redefine cybersecurity awareness training by introducing an indigenous game design that intricately incorporates the traditional South African Morabaraba board game. While the effectiveness of non-indigenous games like "Capture The Flag (CTF)" in cybersecurity training is acknowledged, indigenous designs have been overlooked. This research creatively integrates Morabaraba's gameplay into cybersecurity training, adapting it into a competitive game where players adopt the roles of either defenders or attackers, with corresponding tokens/images symbolizing various cyber defense and attack strategies. Both the defenders and attackers in the game can elevate their awareness scores by strategically positioning defensive or attacking images on the game board. Subsequently, a judging entity assesses the players' moves and assigns scores based on the accuracy of the images placed. The game mirrors real-world scenarios, promoting strategic thinking and leveraging interactive gameplay for practical insights into cybersecurity awareness. Players demonstrate their cybersecurity knowledge through offensive and defensive strategies. A group of 40 students evaluated the game's effectiveness, highlighting its potential to create an engaging and competitive learning environment that imparts cybersecurity principles and practical application. The evaluation of the game mechanics demonstrated a remarkably positive outcome, with students expressing both enjoyment and an enhanced understanding of cybersecurity awareness.

Author Biography

Mike Wa Nkongolo, University of Pretoria

Lecturer of Informatics (University of Pretoria). Ph.D. in Information Technology (2022-2023, graduation scheduled for April 2024). Has a Higher Diploma, BSc. Honors, and master's degree in computer science (2015-2019, University of the Witwatersra)nd. Background in Systems Engineering, Data Analysis, and Technical Support.  Research focuses on data science with a multidisciplinary approach, tackling modern data challenges.