Indigenous games of Africa: a call for urgent intervention
Nteere, J. S.
Wanderi, P. M.
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Since 1980s, a lot of literature on indigenous games of Africa has been written and numerous presentations and discussions on the same topic have been witnessed at major conferences. Of notable significance were the discussions and declarations made by UNESCOin 1999 at the Third International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sports (MINEPS III) held in Punta del Este,Uruguay, where very favorable recommendations were made. These recommendations included amongst others, a request to the member states to the UNESCOto, one, organize and support traditional games and sports; and two, facilitate participation by their countries in World Festival of Traditional Sports. With a view to facilitating this, an Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sports (CIGEPS)was formed and expected to seek global support from regional and national bodies aswell as from Non-Governmental Organizations. CIGEPSwas also mandated to contact relevant institutions in order to prepare a worldwide list of indigenous games and sports, draw up "a world traditional games policy and lead the world to an international charter on traditional games and sports". Ever since, similar calls have repeatedly been made every four years on UNESCO's organized MINEPS fora in line with this declaration. Unfortunately, it has all been more of a wishful thought. As time goes by, African indigenous games stand the danger of being lost as they continue receding with time. This paper presents a background of the indigenous games of Africa in terms of their significance as a cultural heritage. The paper further outlines the possible measures that should be undertaken urgently to institutionalize and formalize the indigenous games of Africa before they are lost forever. Procrastination in their formalization will cost the African continent a significant means to its cultural identity which if lost will never be recovered; thus calling for a fast action.