Why African Board Games Must Be Introduced Into The School Education
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Why African Board Games Must Be Introduced Into The School Education

African Board Games

Why African Board Games Must Be Introduced Into The School Education

If someone says the words like “education” and “learning”, we instantly imagine a strict teacher in front of a bunch of students in a classroom. No doubt, each of us tends to go back to his child memories in this case. But in reality a great deal of things we know and the knowledge we possess along with a number of different skills we used to acquire studying at schools and universities, can be learned right outside the classroom or straight during the conventional lessons.

Many modern educators are widely recognizing brand new opportunities for personal growth, which can be presented during the classes, and together with it, are trying to integrate those opportunities into school education experience.

Board games, for example, are a perfect learning ground. This is because they can enable people engaged to develop such non-cognitive skills as patience and discipline, which indeed are essential for both career and life success. Gameplay can also develop a good number of those skills, involving active critical thinking and problem solving. That made us team up with pinalovesite to bring you some extra useful information. Here we go!

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The home of the world’s best board games

The African continent, in particular, has a truly rich history of board games that derives back from the pre-slavery and pre-colonial epoch. In all times board games were used there to teach and reinforce a wide range of such vital skills like cognitive and motor ones.
That’s why games and especially board ones have been part of many African communities for literally centuries. For instance, the Morabaraba board game is still used these days when planning cattle herding strategies in certain parts of Southern Africa and was once used to discuss issues concerning war strategies. Another example is the Oware board game. Legend has it that this particular game was invented in 1700s for the purpose to resolve misunderstandings between married partners. In recent years, traditional African board games remain both popular and culturally significant.

Although more and more researchers around the globe are drawing parallels between entertainment and learning, the bigger part of educational potential of African board games still remains severely underestimated. That’s exactly why we’d like to tell about two most interesting board games from the African continent that can be used in the learning process at modern schools.

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Oware is perhaps one of the most ancient and widely played African board games – and its pretty simple rules definitely speak of its nearly endless learning potential.
It is traditionally played on a wooden board containing 12 round holes, with 48 seeds or small pebbles equally shared between two players. These small objects are dropped into consecutive holes by turns. The game’s objective is to capture all 25 seeds. The game requires the use of various strategies and techniques.
Playing Oware can teach both logical logic thinking and arithmetic. Attention, spatial thinking, decision making abilities and, most importantly, negotiation skills are some of the results of the playing process.


Mancala is more like a general name used to denote a range of 2-player turn-based board games played with the use of small objects like pebbles or beans as well as rows of round pits on a board or any other playing surface.
Most Mancala family’s games share simple gameplay. Both players start with placing an equally dispersed number of playing objects in each pit on the game surface. A player should count his pebbles or whatever in order to win. Each turn involves removing all pebbles from an enemy’s pit, placing one pebble in a pit in a sequence and eventually capturing most holes. In English the name of this game means “count to capture”. Although the features and styles of the game may differ, the general point applies to all types of the Mancala games.

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