2 years ago, quite a few people were introduced to BRZÉ, by entering the "Blackwhole" experience. A great turnout, beautiful people and wonderful food. Raye 6 blessed by hosting the show. Melo X blessed the turntables. Tito and Cee the photog was behind the camera. Lex behind the camcorder. Makeup: Jasmine MACphresh & DeeBlock. Hair: Mona & Vanessa. Soull style the Hades out of everything. Fellow artist Quan Luv blessed the flyer with superhypercyberdelic art work. AND THAT WAS 2 YRS AGO. Doesn’t wine get better with age too. Moor to come, I promise.
Mankala is a number of strategic games with roots in Africa, reported expanding back 7000 years, however the earliest recorded evidence found by archaeologists in Aksumite Ethiopia in Matara (now in Eritrea) and Yeha (in Ethiopia), dating back to between 500 and 700 AD. Stone Mankala boards have been found carved into the roofs of temples in Memphis, Thebes and Luxor - the game was definitely being played in Egypt before 1400BC. A variety of basically similar games played in many widely spread parts of the world are played from the West Indies to Hawaii and from Turkey to South Africa. This broad belt includes all of Africa, the Middle East, India, South East Asia, Indonesia and the East Indies, and the Philippines. The similarities between all the varieties of Mankala, leads to the inescapable conclusion that, at some time in the distant past, they all originated in a single place.
Mankala represents the diversity of Africa. Some version of Mankala is played in nearly every African country. It is enjoyed by royalty and commoners, adults and children, in cities and villages of every size. There are hundreds of different variations to the basic game Mankala.
Omwesa(o) mweso and wezo are names popular and commonly found in Uganda and Tanzania.
Ambao, mbao and bao all derive from the word “mbao” which simply means “board” in Swahili. These are common, but highly unspecific, names for many of the Mankala games. In some tribes they may refer to a specific version of the game but different tribes use the same name for different versions. Bao is the most common name in Tanzania. Forms of this word are found as far south as Malawi and west to Angola.
Illaut played by Samburu in Kenya.
Wari or Owari used throughout Nigeria, Ghana, and Niger. The same “West African” version of the game, with the same name, is played in the West Indies. The connection here is obvious.
Kombe is the name used for the game along the northern Kenya coast and in Lamu. The word has two meanings in Swahili: to hollow out by carving and to clean out, or bankrupt, an opponent. Thus “mbao ya kombe" means "the hollowed out board" while "mchezo wa kombe" means "the game of cleaning out or bankrupting". The first meaning refers, of course, to the method used to make the board and the second to the fact that the game is played until one of the players has lost all his counters and is "cleaned out".
Soro and coro are extremely common in northern Uganda.
Aweet is the name used by the Dinka tribe of the Sudan. This version is played on the four-by-ten board.
Mongale is commonly used along the coast and in Mombasa. It is related to the generic name Mankala. Mongola is used in the upper Congo. However, it must never be assumed that the use of a name related to Mankala implies a game similar to Mweso, or another specific game. The Egyptian Mankala is played on a two-by-six board and is very different.
There is a great reason for spending more effort in understanding these games. Games, to repeat a truism, are a microcosm of life. And the games played within a society are a subtle reflection of the values of that society. For example: In the game, a single ‘hole’ is a ‘cattle corral’ by the Meru and the Maasai; in India it is called a ‘shop’ in Java it is a ‘rice field’. A Moor of Spain would usually (though not always) plays chess with slow deliberation. A Ugandan always plays omweso as fast as possible and the slightest hesitation is actually penalised forfeiting by the move. The Maasai have a unique style which gives the impression of incomprehensible confusion to any spectator insofar as several players appear to be, and actually are, playing simultaneously on the same board. In some societies the games are played only by men and are accompanied by elaborate etiquette; in others they are considered simply an amusement for old women and children.
Here follow some features which are common to almost all Mankala games:
-In game theory terms they are all “two person, zero sum games of complete information”. That is, there are two sides, one’s gain is the other’s loss, and there are no secret or random moves.
-With the exception of Mweso, all the games have from 12 to 24 pits arranged in two parallel rows. The two-by-six and two-by-seven versions are most popular in West Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia and the Philippines. Two-by-ten and two-by-twelve are most common in East Africa. It is common to carve a large storage pit at each end of the board to contain the winnings of each side. For example this is done by the Tigani, Chuka, Gusii and Luyia in Kenya.
-A given number of seeds (always the same for any specific variant of the game) are distributed among the pits. This distribution may follow a fixed, non-uniform pattern, or it may be entirely at the discretion of the individual player. Uniform distribution is most common.
-A significant difference between Mankala and the majority of Western board games, including chess, draughts (checkers), backgammon, etc. is that no distinction is made between the seeds . Firstly, all the seeds have the same value. Secondly, the distinction ‘yours vs. mine’ only lasts until the board frontier is crossed. That is, any seed that crosses the dividing line between one player’s side of the board and his opponent’s immediately changes ownership, at least temporarily. Permanent ownership resides in the ‘sides of the board’. That is, one side is mine; the other side is yours.
-A move consists of picking up the entire contents of any pit on one’s own side of the board and sowing the seeds, one in each succeeding pit, in a counter clockwise direction. The term ‘sowing’ used to describe this process is very apt. It is part of the game that some these seeds will go around the end of the row and over to the opponent’s side. This is not a permanent loss, however, since they may be regained in a subsequent move. It may at times even be strategically desirable to do this in order to upset your opponent’s arrangements. Certain pits may be omitted from the sowing process in some games.
-The significance of any move is determined by the pit in which the move ends. That is, the pit in which the last seed of a handful lands. To generalize, this may result in a) the player may sleep; b) a chained move which may follow a prescribed pattern or may be at the discretion of the player; or c) the capture of some of the opponent’s seeds. There are certain exceptions to the counter clockwise rule in East Africa which are not permitted in Mankala elsewhere.
-All games provide rules for capturing seeds from one’s opponent’s side of the board and some allow capture’s from one’s own side.
-A game is over when one of the players no longer has enough seeds on his side to make any effective moves.
-The winner is decided by the number of seeds each has captured.
For the many different names, styles, types of wood, or metal used to play, call, and describe Mankala, the rules always remain the same and since games can be a micro to the macro, we see that where ever we go and explore and with all the different cultures, styles of dress and foods, they all have a common ancestor and common goal: To explore all aspects of self in expression, no matter how different it appears to be. It’s all from the same source.
The first single from the Fashion album "Wrath of Chaos" set to release early Spring 2011 by BRZÉ.
BRZÉ teams up with fellow designer Jide, hailing from L.A., to bring forth "El Morillion’s Wrath of BRZÉ". The brand, being on hiatus for some time now, will surely set this album in motion, with this groundbreaking single, set to drop in 2 weeks.
Stay tuned for the next shoot and single "There are Moor ways home than one". in the next coming weeks.