The Decline of Traditional Games

The Decline of Traditional Games

- in Feature

Once in Ghana were ampe, pampanaa, oware, pempenaa, pi lolo, alikoto, Zanzama, sansankroma, kyemper, Adwoa Ata and many others so dear to our hearts. Traditional games, in past times were held in high esteem by both the aged and the young in our society. These games, one would note, are gradually on the decline.

Attributed to civilization or modernization, these global phenomenon play a fundamental role in seperating our traditional society from its traditional games. These games gave us a sense of identification and belonging. Aside the eductative aspect these games offered, they also played the role of reuniting familes.

They were a great source of entertainment, self-expression and cooperation.

These same games since time immemorial have developed skills in solving real world problems while providing the opportunity to communicate face-to-face with team players. Helping to hone social skills, individuals were able to familiarize themselves with their environment and interact properly with others.

Pampanaa for instance helped us develop our navigational skills as one either searched for or hid from his/her opponent. Police and thief, imbibed in us a sense of accepted moral standards in society by shaming crime, and on the other hand celebrating justice.

Countless people may argue on the importance of modern games. In a way, it is understandable in the sense that, times have changed unlike the past where murder, kidnap, rape, rituals etc. were not common in our Ghanaian society. Parents would not like to take chances letting their children out to play with friends but rather stick to modern games on consoles, computers or other devices right at home. The security of children is essential to parents.

Modern games such as Clash of Clans, candy crush, pokémon, criminal case, temple run, fruit ninja and many others are the order of the day. The disadvantages are also countless. Children are exposed to unacceptable social vices and acts such as sexual abuses, crime, deceit and violence.

Parents should be mindful of how they go about blending modern games with traditional ones bearing in mind the role to media plays in shaping human behaviour and perception.

A couple of people share their fond moments with traditional games.



I remember pampanaa, a game for guys where we will be hiding from each other in an uncompleted building and once you find your opponent you shoot him, it brings back good memories but we are now in an advanced world where getting to know how to use the computer is very essential for the individual so I think modern games are cool.


I loved pilolo, hahaha, just having nolstagic feelings about those moments. I did love chaskele as well which is modern day cricket. I miss back then and I feel it should have stayed.


Zanzama, was my favorite, all it required was a hard knock on your opponents head when they were not of themselves.  It was funny when you were not a victim until u were but Lucky is the opponent who says Zanzama quickly upon seeing their opponent to prevent a knock.


I loved AliKoto growing up.  It was quite interesting and involved a lot of spinning of a pen top in a hole of a battery head.


Police and thief, where the culprit is arrested by a police as well as Chemper where you get to share food into equal part with your opponent if they don’t say chemper on time whilst eating .


I was not the outing type as a kid because my parents wouldn’t let me but I enjoyed watching by the fire side on television by Grace Omabo and listening to Ananse stories but used to modern games now.


I loved ampe but peile especially where eight boxes were drawn on the floor and we jumped in them without stepping in the lines so you don’t get disqualified.


I enjoyed Ampe but sadly we don’t see it any more. It was best played with a group of four and more or just two people.  It requires very active players with much jumping, singing and clapping.  Two leaders are chosen for each group and the rest of the members split into groups of two and play against each other. Points are earned depending on the right or left leg, but always meet the opposite leg of your opponent first. I wish we could still maintain our traditional games instead of modern games.


I enjoyed playing oware which was very calculating and educative. I also loved playing ludu growing up.




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  2. This is a subject close to my heart cheers. Thanks

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