Learning African Roots in Japan?
Last weekend while taking the kids to the park, something interesting happened.we went to the indoor space where events are held and to our surprise, they were doing a workshop on African children’s games.
Now, over the past couple of days this has got me thinking. What added to that thinking was listening to a Minister Farrakhan speech. Africans living in the west don’t know about their own roots and culture. We have been robbed of everything down to our names.
Just imagine, a group of Japanese people who visited various African countries ( Malawi 🇲🇼 is one I remember them saying ) teaching us about games and activities played in the motherland. But in no way am I blaming anyone as I could have researched these activities myself online. But it never really dawned on me.
It’s kind of sad to think that I couldn’t tell you where in Africa my roots are from but I have a feeling it’s Ghana due to its clear path to the Caribbean and how the name just resonates with me.
During the Transatlantic Slave Trade era, which lasted from the 16th to the 19th century, the majority of slaves taken from Africa came from West and Central Africa. Countries such as Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Angola, and Mozambique were significant sources of enslaved Africans. The exact numbers and origins of slaves transported from Africa are difficult to determine, but it is estimated that between 10 to 12 million Africans were forcibly brought to the Americas during the slave trade.
But let’s not dwell on the past and being the victim. Let’s see the games we learnt from the motherland during this workshop.
This first game we played was a soccer game using bottle stoppers and a crushed piece of paper. Tape was used to define the parameters and 🥅. You had to use your finger to hit or position a bottle stopper to strategically score goals. Now interestingly this same game in some form or another was played in Jamaica 🇯🇲 during my childhood days. I think the lack of and cost of board games in the new world Bobylon Caribbean necessitated the creativity to create these games. They are fun and can be played with simple objects one could find around the house/community.
The other game we played used bottle stoppers as well as plastic bottle caps. Now this was something I had never seen before. The game was played by piling a bunch of bottle stoppers and caps in the center of a cloth made into a small square and then each player got three bottle stoppers they had to use to smash them out of the square. Any of te caps that came out of the square due to your smash was your points. It’s a very simple but fulfilling and fun game.
To warm down from all the excitement of the games, they did a little crafty work using string, cloth and cardboard to make a spinner instrument that was wined up and spun to make an interesting noise. The kids didn’t enjoy this as much but it was interesting to see.
It’s interesting how the universe shows you things. And I think I was in the right place at the right time as I have been thinking more of my roots lately especially in the form of praying to my ancestors for guidance.
Are any of these games familiar to you? Until next time, Bless 🆙