East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics.
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi are members of the East African Community (EAC). Burundi and Rwanda are sometimes considered part of Central Africa. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and SouthSomalia are collectively known as the Horn of Africa.
The term “East Africa” is often used to specifically refer to the area now comprising the countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and also Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan.
Mozambique and Madagascar are often considered part of Southern Africa. Madagascar has close cultural ties to Southeast Asia and the islands of the Indian Ocean. Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are often included in Southern Africa, and formerly of the Central African Federation. Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles are small island nations in the Indian Ocean. Réunion and Mayotte are French overseas territories also in the Indian Ocean. Egypt is usually included in Northern Africa.
In the following lines there is a list of mancala games traditionally played in Eastern Africa, which you can find in this site:
Anywoli – game is played by Anuak people from Western Ethiopia, in Gambela and in South Sudan, in Akobo, Pochalla and Jokau. The holes are called oto (plural udi; meaning: “houses”). The seeds are called nyibaré (“children of the board game”).
Bao – mainly in Tanzania, Kenya, northern Mozambique and the island of Zanzibar (Swahili spoken regions). A feature of this game is that begins with few seeds on the game board and, little by little, new seeds are entering. The captured seeds are not removed from the board, because these are readmitted to it. For this reason, along the game it will be complicating the analysis of each situation. It is a strategic game, passionate and entertaining.
Bechi – is played in the African country of Eritrea by the Kunama people. The main feature of this game is that the direction of a move depends on the hole chosen to begin this move. The game is played on a 2×4 board. That is a board of two rows of four holes. Also is played on a 2×3 board. 6 seeds are placed in each hole at the start of play.
Gebeta samai – currently played by young Samai shepherds, near Turmi, in Southern Ethiopia, as Biel Pubill (High school teacher at the Institut de Flix, Catalonia) explained during an interview for “Món aualé” (informative magazine about mancala games). Gebeta samai is played on boards with 2 rows of 12 holes, dug in the ground.
Giuthi - is played in Kenya. It was played by men and young boys, among Kikuyu people, when they were herding cattle. The usual way to play is to dig holes in the ground, instead of using a board. Often wooden boards are also used. The main feature of this game is that the players can choose the direction of play at the start of the turn and the laps are made in alternating directions.
Lame Uweiedet -is played in Ethiopia and in Eritrea by the Tigrinya people.This game is played like Sulus Nishtaw except for the first play. The starting player begins at the end left corner of the own side of the board, removing one seed from this hole, one from the third, one from the fifth, one from the seventh, and one from the ninth holes. Then sows them one by one into the ensuing holes.
Maide – is currently played by Karo people from Murelle, a village bordering the Omo River. Maide game is played on boards with 4 rows of 12 holes, dug in the ground. Related to Baré game (first described by Richard Pankhurst, in 1971). The Karo people are among the smallest ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia with between 1000 and 3000 estimated individuals remaining.
Mbothe – is played in Kenya by the Pokomo people living in small villages along the Tana River. Mbothe was first described by Walter Drieger in 1972. This game is played by both sexes and all ages.
Omweso – is a Mancala game very popular in the East African country of Uganda, with major tournaments being held in the capital city of Kampala in the Kingdom of Buganda. It is a ‘re-entrant’ game. That is, all the seeds remain in play. Captured seeds are re-entered onto the winners side of the board. Omweso had a central role in pre-colonial Buganda society. The Baganda play on a very carefully chiseled four-by eight board. The holes are square with sloping sides and closely adjoin each other with no gaps.
Selus – is played in Eritrea. Selus is a generic name given to mancala games which are played on three-row boards. The main feature of this game is that the players can create and block some holes on either side of the board, where, in later turns, the players can capture the seeds contained into these holes irrespective of who created it.
Sulus Aidi -is played in the northern higlands of Etiopia and in Eritrea by the Tigrinya people. The game is related to Sulus Nisthaw and Selus. The main feature of this game is that you can create and block some holes on the opponent’s side of the board (“claimed hole”) but no captures are performed. Any seed falling into a “claimed hole” belongs to the player who created it. At the end of the game each player scores the remaining seeds into the own claimed holes.
Sulus Nistaw -is played in the northern higlands of Etiopia and in Eritrea by the Tigrinya people. The game is related to Sulus Aidi and Selus. “Selus” is a generic name given to mancala games which are played on three-row boards. The main features of this game are that you can create and block some holes on the opponent’s side of the board (“claimed hole”), but you capture from the “claimed holes” in your own side created by the opponent’s player; and that for the second and the following rounds the division of the board depends on how many seeds the winner of the previous round captures.
SOON IN THIS SITE:
Baré – played in South Sudan by Anuak people on boards with 4 rows of 12 holes. Related to Maide game played by Karo people from Ethiopia.
Igisoro – played in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda by Tutsi people on boards with four rows of eight holes. 4 seeds are placed in each hole in the inner rows. Related with Omweso game. Is played with similar rules.