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New UK organisation to revive cultural interest in African and Caribbean games

Updated: May 1

The AKADi Magazine team attended the launch of a newly inaugurated association that is on a mission in the UK to rekindle interest in indigenous African and Caribbean games and sports. Magazine editor KAmo reports on the event.


"The Game of Ampe 01" by Nipah Dennis is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
"The Game of Ampe 01" by Nipah Dennis is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The London-based Cultural Games Association (CGA) UK has mapped out plans to promote the health and cultural benefits of traditional African and Caribbean games and sports to the next generation.


Activities such as Ampe, Chaskele and Push Boxing were among the games highlighted during the launch at Frederick Bremer School, in Walthamstow, East London.


Ampe is a strategic game which requires participants to rhythmically hop, jump and kick their leg to outsmart their opponent. Chaskele is a bat and ball game.


Push Boxing is a contest where participants, hop on one leg while trying to push their opponent off balance. The first person to have both feet touch the ground loses.


Dr Richard Eghan, CGA-UK's advisory board member, explained that these games offer health, motor and cognitive  benefits.


Photo by RDNE Stock project: https://www.pexels.com/photo/happy-woman-in-red-crew-neck-t-shirt-7551217/
Photo by RDNE Stock project/ Pexels

Project Zero, an organisation that works with disenfranchised young people welcomed CGA-UK’s launch as an opportunity to promote culture and identity among the young and help curb anti-social behaviour.


Stephen Barnabis, founder and operations director of Project Zero, was inspired to create the organisation after losing two relatives to knife crime. The organisation promotes youth engagement through youth clubs, engagement by working with young people that have been excluded from school and encourages employment.


"The principles, areas and objectives in steering young people away from criminal activities, keeping them fit and healthy, promoting the positive mental health is very important is what we do at Project Zero and is what the games is also about," he said.


"And we are finding out our young black men they don't know about their heritage, they don't know about their culture, they are losing their identity, and this is one of the key reasons they might get involved in criminal activities or may carry a knife. So this project and working together with is very important to us."

L-R - CGA-UK Vice Chair Daniel Kwasi Oppong, Pastor Grace Modupe Adejuwon, Coreen Carberry GUSDA Secretary UK, Adonten Hene I Nana Amoako Okokobriko, Mala Solomon-Bheem GUSDA, CGA-UK Chairperson Vincent M John, Dr. Richard Eghan, Queen Mother Nana Akua Agyeman Opambour I, Apenkrahemaa Ejisu District.
L-R - CGA-UK Vice Chair Daniel Kwasi Oppong, Pastor Grace Modupe Adejuwon, Coreen Carberry GUSDA Secretary UK, Adonten Hene I Nana Amoako Okokobriko, Mala Solomon-Bheem GUSDA, CGA-UK Chairperson Vincent M John, Dr. Richard Eghan, Queen Mother Nana Akua Agyeman Opambour I, Apenkrahemaa Ejisu District.

Other organisations keen to work with CGA-UK, that were present at the launch, included a local police organisation, and the Guyana UK Social Development Association (GUSDA), and PC Shaik Umar Arshad, Metropolitan Police Service representative of the Borough Commander and one of the youth engagement and diversion officers for Waltham Forest and Newham Borough.


According to Mariama Grant, CGA-UK’s secretary, traditional games offer cultural grounding, a way to connect with  communities, and promote community bonding.


She also highlighted how Ghana is ensuring sports and games remains on the agenda with the promotion of African sports and games between 8 and 23 March. The 13th African Games will launch across three Ghanaian cities (Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast).


The value of indigenous games has not gone unnoticed and there is a global push driven by UNESCO, Mariama highlighted.


According to a report by UNESCO’s Traditional Sports and Games (TSG) chairman in August 2018: “the importance of traditional sports and games for their intrinsic cultural values and their ability to increase participation in physical activity and sport for almost two decades.”

 

UNESCO established the TSG committee which includes representation coming from countries including some from Africa and the Caribbean.


Photo by Craig Adderley: https://www.pexels.com/photo/four-people-playing-domino-1543765/
Photo by Craig Adderley/ Pexels

The CGA-UK has identified over 20 African and Caribbean cultural games including: Kalooki (Jamaica; Trinidad &Tobago), Caribbean Stud Poker (Aruba), Fanorona (Madagascar) 

- Hyena (Sudan), Morabaraba (South Africa; Botswana), and Ampe (Ghana).


CGA-UK Vice Chair Daniel Kwasi Owiredu Oppong, AKADi Magazine Editors Abena Sɛwaa and KAmo
CGA-UK Vice Chair Daniel Kwasi Owiredu Oppong, AKADi Magazine Editors Abena Sɛwaa and KAmo

The organisation aims to focus on the following cultural games in its first phase:

- Ampe (Ghana) 

- Chaskele (Ghana)

Nte (Ghana) 

-  Push Boxing (Ghana)

- Skyball (Ghana) 


CGA-UK Chairman Vincent M John, highlighted that cultural games are the traditions playful manifestations or games that are generally transmitted from generation to generation.


They generally refer to childhood games, but represent an inter-general recreational space that contributes towards psychomotor and socio-affective development of the participants. And are an important part of the identity of the people and gives an insight into cultural and social phenomenon.

 

The occasion attracted distinguished guests, including: Reverend Kofi Anokye Ababio, Methodist Church UK, representatives from the Ghana High Commission, Her Excellency Rita Tani Iddi, deputy High Commissioner, UK Adonten Hene I Nana Amoako Okokobriko, and Queen Mother Nana Akua Agyeman Opambour Apenkrahemaa I, Ejisu District; Helen Verrier, chairperson of Ghana Union Harlow, and London Borough of Redbridge Mayor Councillor Jyotsha Islam.

 

Queen Mother Nana Akua Agyeman Opambour 1, Apenkrahemaa Ejisu District and Adonten Hene I Nana Amoako Okokobriko
Queen Mother Nana Akua Agyeman Opambour I, Apenkrahemaa Ejisu District and Adonten Hene I Nana Amoako Okokobriko

CGA-UK had planned for performers in Ghana, skilled in playing traditional games, to attend the event. However, these plans were scuppered by immigration challenges. And technical difficulties on the day meant that a live feed that would connect the UK event to CGA Ghana's National President Nana Ernest Boateng Gyimah and performers in Ghana had to be abandoned.


Despite the challenges, guests had the chance to see examples of ampe, and pushboxing played by young people in Ghana through video footage.


And Mariama shared her interview with UK-based rower Louron Pratt on the benefits of being part of the sport.


The event succeeded in evoking nostalgia and strengthened commitments from stakeholders in attendance to support CGA-UK’s mission, Daniel Kwasi Owiredu Oppong, CGA-UK’s vice chair said.

 

Tony UrbanSmash
Tony Toussaint founder of UrbanSmash

The event was hosted by MC Dr Eric Morton. Attendees were serenaded by a steel pan player and drummer Tony Toussaint, the drumming from Omowale La Pointe, and the royalty guests dancing Adowa.


During the event, guests were invited to complemented to visit stalls selling a range of goods including books, clothes, and personal care products. Traditional Ghanaian food and complimentary refreshments.


DJ Mafia
DJ Mafia

As the formal proceedings drew to a close, attendees were treated to Adowa and classic Highlife by DJ Orin, complemented by commentary from DJ Mafia.


This article is an original piece written by AKADi Magazine. The contents of this page cannot be reproduced without permission.



 


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1 comentário


Joyce Mahama
Joyce Mahama
18 de abr.

Want to register a traditional game Ampe from Ghana. West Africa. I'm the president of Women Sports Commission in Ghana' And also a member of the Olympic Committee in Ghana.

Ampe is a female traditional game played in Ghana.

Curtir
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