children playing bawo

Walking the villages of Malawi, you are guaranteed to come across a group of children, young adults or full adults playing the beautiful game of Bawo / Bao on either intricately carved boards or on hollows scooped into the earth. In Malawi (the warm heart of Africa), bawo / bao is a popular traditional game, a national pastime especially in the rural areas that makes up about 70% of the nation.

I learned how to play bawo / bao two months ago and could not suppress the revelation that it brought to me. It is mind-blowing to realize that this wholly mathematical game which is the most complex of all mancala games is professionally played by village children who quickly invent strategic bawo / bao moves that clearly show mental alertness, calculation and resourcefulness. To me, this is a clear indication of the intelligence and potential that these children possess. However, it is sad to learn that most children in rural Malawi are prevented from progressing in their education at a very early age because of poverty. Future masterminds are lost.

As Fumba Game Lab™ embarked on creating a computerized version of traditional bawo / bao game, we decided to salute the efforts of the Malawian government and NGO's that have made relentless efforts to provide free education to the Malawian child. The Bawo Bantu game app is specifically dedicated to the H.E.L.P Malawi foundation. Educating one child makes a big difference to the whole community.

Fumba. 8/9/2010.

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