AS THE OLYMPIC GAMES DRAW NEAR, A UGANDAN IS WORKING TOWARDS HAVING THE COUNTRY’S OLD NATIVE GAME ON THE GLOBAL SCENE AS AN OFFICIAL OLYMPIC GAME.
A Native Ugandan Game called Kwepena is being pushed for acceptance into Olympic games line up. Most games in the Olympic games competition have their origin from Europe, North America and Asia but none from Africa. Today a young Ugandan entrepreneur, Simon Tumukunde, is working to change that.
The old native Ugandan game, Kwepena which means “dancing” has remained popular through generations in the country, mostly played by young people. The game has a semblance of the popular western game, dodge ball. Like Dodge ball players stand on opposite sides of the court and dodge a softball. Originally played in open fields, Simon and his team are working out court dimensions, rules, jerseys, officials and other modalities.
The new and improved Kwepena is already gaining popularity among secondary school students in Uganda, also in social and community events. These are all as a result of publicity and structural efforts by Simon and his team. Though the team is working with lawyers to settle the paper work for the new game as it is being pushed for the Olympics, Kwepena is now being used for social causes in Uganda. One social cause which showcased the game well was the #Together4Her in Uganda – a fundraising for girls faced with crisis pregnancies.
As part of the modernization of the game, Simon’s team has today sorted out best practice covering scoring and winning rules. Following the new rules, two players stand at the opposite ends of court as the softball is thrown while one or more people at the centre dodge the ball so it doesn’t hit or touch them. A score is recorded each time the ball hits a player.