Zimbabwe; board games; reading
- Masimba Biriwasha, thank you for your note at our wiki, and Bev Clark,
thank you for your letter, which I share more broadly with other groups at
our Minciu Sodas laboratory. Masimba, yes please share your concept note
for your online youth project!
Bev, Thank you for alerting us to Tsoro, an African board game. I found a
page about it
and the rules and a computer to play against:
Yes, the 32 squares of the board could be printed with messages and
advertisements, civic and commercial. And there are 64 pebbles.
This board and pieces could also be used for teaching reading as I have
asked Fred Kayiwa in Uganda to help me research. I have made flash cards
for a child to teach themselves how to read single syllable words:
Fred, the way that I learned to read a word like "flown" is to break it up
into two parts, the beginning (consonant cluster) "fl" and the end "own".
"Fluh" and "own" together are "flown". Whereas "fuh-luh-ow-nuh" isn't
helpful. So it's important to break up the word into two parts, the
beginning and the end.
So I have made cards for all of the beginning sounds, there are 55: b,
bl, br, c (sounds like k), c (sounds like s), cl, cr, d, dr, f, fl, fr, g,
g (sounds like j), gl, gr, h, j, k, l and so on. And there are about 500
endings and I have organized them by the vowel sounds, so for example, I
mark the short it with a "club" symbol and the endings are: -ill, -it,
-in, -ick, -ip, -ish, -ich and so on. And so you can put together real or
imaginary words such as: bill, bit, bin, bick, bip, bish, bich and so on.
Now imagine where there is a Tsoro board that has printed out 32 of the
beginning sounds, one on each of the square. Then suppose that one player
calls out a vowel sound like "ee". Then as the other player moves their
pebbles suppose they must combine the cluster with the vowel so as they
moved the pebbles we would hear: flee, free, gee, jee, glee, gree and so
on. Some of these words are real and some are imaginary so maybe if it's
imaginary they must afterwards say "imagine that!" or "beg my pardon" and
so on. Then when they are done they would call out a vowel sound for
their opponent (like "ay" or "ue" or so on). There are many games that
can be invented and the end result is that, with just a bit of motivation,
children can teach themselves and each other how to read. Fred, do you
understand me? I ask for your help to try this out and to invent some
+1 312 618 3345
Fri, 06 Jun 2008 13:19:21 UTC Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha: I am currently
working on a project to involve youth online in Zimbabwe, and looking for
I will be happy to share the concept note for additions.
I was interested to read your email about creating games - wonderful.
In Zimbabwe many people play a game called Tsoro which is like draughts.
They use a piece of basic cardboard on which they draw the lines and blocks.
Then, they use old bottle tops as the pieces. Tsoro is played on street
corners and many other public spaces and the games usually gather a crowd.
I'm interested in how we can use games which gather people together to
educate. Whenever people gather they talk and share ideas. It's also
interesting to me how we can use low tech communication interventions
which don't require lots of resources (etc).
So here in Zimbabwe I've suggested to some civic groups that they
reproduce Tsoro boards with various life affirming or positive civic
messages printed on the free space, both back and front, in an effort to
inspire conversation and action.