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Home » Southern Africa

Southern Africa

Africa sud 300x290 Southern AfricaSouthern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. This region is formed by the lands in the south of the African equatorial forest.

Generally are considered part of this region the following states and territories: Angola, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi. Also the territory of Barotseland (in the Western of  Zambia and in the areas bordering Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana).

Are also part of the Southern Africa the island states of Madagascar, Comoros and Mauritius and the dependent territories of France: Mayotte and Reunion islands. And the island of Saint Helena (British dependency) in the South Atlantic.

In the following lines there is a list of mancala games traditionally played in Southern Africa region, which you can find in this site:

regles nchuwa fig 00 300x279 Southern AfricaKatra is played in Madagascar by Sakalava people in the location of Mahajanga. According to Alex J. De Voogt, variations are known as Katra Paika, Katra Tsotra, Katra Kroba or Katra Be. The game is usually referred to as Katra or Katro. Katra is played in a 4×4 and 4×6 board, that is, four rows with four holes and four rows with six holes. At the start of the game 2 seeds in each hole is most common. Players also placed 3 seeds in each hole at the start of the game.

regles katro fig 01 225x300 Southern AfricaKatro - is played in Madagascar by Betsileo people in Ianjanina, in the location of Fianarantsoa, according to Alex J. De Voogt. The 4×4 or 4×6 Katro games have identical rules as Katra. The 6×3 or 6×6 Katro games have additions. Katro is played with 72 seeds (36 per player) in a 6×6 board, 2 seeds are placed in each hole; 36 seeds (18 per player) in a 6×3 board, 2 seeds are placed in each hole. The moves proceed in a boustrophedon way, meaning from the outer row into the central and into the inner row. Once the players pass the inner row the move returns to the outer row crossing but not enetring the central row.

regles mpale 300x240 Southern AfricaM’palé – is played by Makua people from northwestern Mozambique bordering to Malawi. It’s the same game known as Tchuva. In Mozambique, if we travel few kilometers within the Makua community we can find that this same game is identified as Tchuva or Nchuva, in Nampula, the most important Makua city. Is played on a board with 4 rows of a variable number of holes (usually 8 in each row). It is related to Njomwa game from Yao people.

regles msuwa fig 00 300x174 Southern AfricaMsuwa – is played by Manyanja people in Malawi and Moçambique in boards ranging from 4×10 to 4×20. The number of seeds varies directly with the number of holes. This game was first described in 1913 in “Native Games of Central Africa” by Meredith G. Sanderson (Medical Officer of the colonial medical service during the period of British colonial rule in Nyasaland, former name for Malawi).

regles msuwa wa kunja fig 00 Southern AfricaMsuwa wa Kunja - is played by Manyanja people in Malawi and Moçambique in boards ranging from 4×10 to 4×20. The number of seeds varies directly with the number of holes. This game was first described in 1913 in “Native Games of Central Africa” by Meredith G. Sanderson (Medical Officer of the colonial medical service during the period of British colonial rule in Nyasaland, former name for Malawi). It is closely related to Msuwa game. In fact, this game could be considered a variation of Msuwa.

regles nchuwa fig 00 300x279 Southern AfricaNchuwa - is played by Tonga people (also known as Batonga people) in Malawi on 4×6 ,4×9, 4×12 and 4×15 boards. The number of seeds varies directly with the number of holes. This game was first described in 1913 in “Native Games of Central Africa” by Meredith G. Sanderson (Medical Officer of the colonial medical service during the period of British colonial rule in Nyasaland, former name for Malawi).

regles njombwa fig 00b Southern AfricaNjombwa – is played Yao people in Malawi on 4×8 boards (occasionaly 4×9 or 4×10). The number of seeds varies directly with the initial arrangement. This game was first described in 1913 in “Native Games of Central Africa” by Meredith G. Sanderson (Medical Officer of the colonial medical service during the period of British colonial rule in Nyasaland, former name for Malawi). In this game there are several arrangements at start of play.

regles tshuba fig 00 212x300 Southern AfricaTshuba – is played in southern Mozambique and eastern South Africa by the Thonga people. This game is played on a board of 4×4, that is four rows of four holes. Can also be played with 8, 10, 16, even 22 holes. It was first described by Henri Alexander Junod in 1912 in the book “The life of a South African tribe, Vol.1”. Junod wrote that Tshuba was the most interesting game played by Thonga men, a game which fascinates them and which is certainly more refined than hempsmoking.

Bernat Casanovas 679x1024 Southern Africa

Playing on a board with four rows of twelve holes in Mozambique. Photo: Bernat Casanovas © 2006 All rights reserved.

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