PROJECT TALK: OMWESO (MWESO)
Through our clean drinking water projects in Uganda, we have learned about 'Omweso', a popular game in Uganda. A fun, addictive, thinking game.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
Omweso (sometimes shortened to Mweso) is the traditional Mancala game of the Ugandan people. The game was supposedly introduced by the Bachwezi people of the ancient Bunyoro-kitara empire of Uganda. Nowadays the game is dominated by Ugandan villagers. It’s a very fast moving game said to keep one's mind highly focussed and excited, which can make it addictive. Omweso is one of the Mancala games. Typical of these games are the dimples and the seeds (beans or stones). There are hundreds of different Mancalagames played in a large part of Africa and Asia.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO PLAY?
Omweso is played on a Mancala board of 32 pits, arranged with eight pits lengthwise towards the players, and four pits deep. Each player's territory is the 16 pits on their side of the board. In addition, 64 undifferentiated seeds are needed.
In the absence of a 'real' Mancala board people used (and still use) dimples in the ground and existing stones, seeds or shells. The ease with which such a improvised board can be made has certainly contributed to the popularity of the game, especially in poor areas of the world.
The object of the game is always to conquer more seeds than your opponent. The game ends when a player has no more seeds, if he cannot make a legal move or if one of the players has conquered a predetermined number of seeds.
Want to play this game yourself?
Check out this video to learn the rules. Have fun!