Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Games and Idleness

I have been thinking for sometime why the board game 'bawo' seems addictive to many Malawians and why people spend hours on end playing it. Bawo is usually 'overseen'by a small crowd that among other things offers technical advice to the two contestants.

I have also been wondering about the practice of men idling at street corners or watching caterpillars (tractors) constructing or grading roads.

I ask myself how did this waste of time begin? Is it due to an innate penchant to curiosity? Lack of employment? Mere laziness or purpose?
I tell you sometimes I feel bawo shouldnot be played anyhow in the cities and towns. I feel like telling off the players to quit and do something better with their day or lives! But I guess local legislation and human rights would be against this idea of mine!
But it is evident there is a huge loss in terms of manhours, productivity and economic gains from engaging in these acts.
I wonder if there can be way of comercialising bawo playing! Perhaps setting up a professional league in the towns so that the game is not a mere waste of time!

On another note my time in Lilongwe the capital city is coming to an end. I will miss Kamuzu Procession Road where I witnessed so much drama, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Lilongwe Word Alive Church, Area 3, and more especially the quietness of the compound where I was based. Once again it is being torn between the joy of going home and the loss of friends I have made.


At 10 July 2010 at 20:55:00 CEST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Research into "Bawo" by educational psychologists has actually shown that it sharpens strategic thinking and improves cognitive development (as does chess). Your view-point seems unaware of this--it isn't the idle pursuit you suggest. There are far worst idle pursuits...such as Facebook and texting, which have infiltrated Malawian culture.

At 16 July 2010 at 12:03:00 CEST, Blogger Joe Mlenga said...

Would you have a link to that study or abstracts so that I follow up the issue? I would like to know the 'tangible' spin-offs from bawo playing as indicated in that research.


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