Arts + Culture
Photo by Narasimman Jayaraman via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Here's What Africa's Most Cherished Board Game Is Called Across the Continent and Diaspora

We all remember the game, but it goes by many names in Africa and the diaspora. Here's a sample of them.

Picture it. The wooden board with six pits on each side. The four round seeds that sit in each gourd. The satisfying sound the seeds make when you drop them in each pit, one by one. And of course the sweet accomplishment of getting to pick up seeds from your opponent's side on the other half of the board.

You know that game.


Maybe you played it on a beautiful, ornate hand carved board with seeds that were round and smooth. Or maybe you dug out holes in the earth and played with stones you found on the ground. Or maybe it was just an old set that had been in your family for years- not particularly decorative or special, but the game you could depend on to pass the hours after you'd grown tired of play that involved running, and TV wasn't an option. Or maybe you watched uncles and male cousins play it for hours with concentration that was only broken with an exclamation or snapping fingers when someone picked up from several pits after many moments of contemplative strategy.

We all remember the game.

It's played all over Africa and the diaspora, with variations on the rules worldwide. But to talk about it usually involves some description because it goes by a different name just about everywhere.

After posting a video where the game is called "choro" in Uganda on Instagram, OkayAfrica asked you to weigh in to let us know what it's called where you're from and the comments were lit.

A tiny brief history:

The game has been traced back to ancient Egypt where pits were found carved into roofs of tombs. Some sources cite up to 200 different versions of the game. If you're not in a place where you can easily find it, and are thinking of getting a set for nostalgia's sake, you can buy it online or even play it on your phone.

This following list is based on reader comments and is in no way definitive.

Enjoy the memories and take a look at the different names of the game below:

1. Ghana

Oware

2. Zambia

Insolo

3. Ivory Coast

Awalé

4. Nigeria

Ayo

Ayoayo

Oko

Ncholokoto

5. Kenya & Malawi

Boa

6. U.S. Diaspora

Mancala

Kalaha

7. Caribbean Diaspora

Wari or Warri

8. Cape Verde

Uril

Ouri

9. Uganda

Choro

Omweso

10. Botswana & South Africa

Morabaraba

11. Egypt

Senet

12. Tanzania

Mbao

13. Ethiopia

Gabeti

14. Zimbabwe

Tsoro

15. Democratic Republic of Congo

Sombi

16. Mozambique

Muravarava

Ntxuva


News Brief

Best Music of the Week: Ibeyi, Patoranking, Shatta Wale, Olamide & More

These are the songs you need to hear this week.

Every week we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

Ibeyi "Deathless"

French-Cuban twins Ibeyi have been one of our favorite acts out for a few years now. The pair return with "Deathless," alongside Kamasi Washington, and the announcement of their new album.

Juls "My Wave"

London-based Ghanaian Juls links up with Odunsi The Engine and Sona for this alluring, half-animated music video for "My Wave." We're totally here for it.

Ayo "Paname"

Nigerian-rooted, German singer Ayo shares a beautiful love letter to "African and Jamaican Paris" in her new music video for "Paname."

Mvroe & Joseph Kiwango "Freaky"

Kenya's Mvroe and Tanzania's Joseph Kiwango drop "Freaky," a perfect summer tune about that special lady. The track also features input from East African Wave's Hiribae and Ukweli.

The HeavyTrackerz x JME x Donae'o x P Money

Grime production duo The HeavyTrackerz recruit an all-star cast of JME, Donae'o and P Money for the anthemic "Control."

Patoranking x Diamond Platnumz

Two heavyweights collide in the new music video for Patoranking and Diamond Platnumz' addictive collaboration, "Love You Die."

Shatta Wale x Mr Eazi

Here's another top-tier collaboration, this time from Ghana's Shatta Wale and man-of-the-moment Mr Eazi. Hear them calling out all haters above.

Korede Bello x Lil Kesh

Korede Bello taps Lil Kesh for this dance floor jam, "My People," off his Belloved album.

Olamide "Update!"

Olamide quickly follows up the huge success of "Wo!" with his latest, Young John-produced single, "Update!" He might have another smash tune on his hands.

Kobi Onyame Gold 

UK-based Ghanaian rapper Kobi Onyame blends highlife influences with hip-hop in his new 11-track album, Gold. Stream it above and grab it everywhere here.

Stonebwoy x Kojo Funds

Ghana's Stonebwoy connects with Kojo Funds for this dancehall jam, "Falling Again."

Follow our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week.

News Brief

Watch Ayo's Beautiful Love Letter to "African Paris" in 'Paname'

Ayo shares the music video for "Paname," a beautiful and striking dedication to the "African and Jamaican" Paris she lived in for 10 years.

Nigerian-rooted, German singer Ayo is readying the release of her eponymous fifth studio album this year.

Today, the songwriter is sharing the love song and music video for "Paname," a beautiful and striking dedication to the "African and Jamaican" Paris she lived in for 10 years.

The song's titled after the gypsy name for Paris (Paname), an influence from Ayo's Romani gypsy mother.

"I got my musical wings in Paris," says Ayo. "It was the first time I could sit down with my guitar and people would be quiet and really listen to me. It was the beginning for everything."

 

"It's about my Paris—not the Champs-Élysées part that is very rich. My Paris is when you know what it's like to jump the fence at the Metro. My Paris is rich in African and Jamaican culture. My favorite part, musically, is the accordion sound I played on it."

Watch Ayo's music video for "Paname," which we're premiering here today, above.

Pre-orders for her upcoming album, Ayo, are available September 7. 

 

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