Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ode to Oware

Oware is almost definitely the greatest single game ever invented. For the uninitiated it goes a bit like this: on a board of twelve holes you have six and your opponent has six, these are your territories. Each hole starts with four pebbles in it and the aim of the game is to get four pebbles back in the holes, in order to gain your opponents territory - pretty straight forward. I, sadly, have been on the wrong end of so many Ghanaian thrashings that I could have become embittered. However, I saw the beauty of the game, haggled a seller down from two pounds to seventy pence and invested in my own set, and am now pitting my wits against hardened Ghanaian players. And though I'm not winning, I am at least taking longer to lose.

This may seem a rather erroneous blog, however we discovered a new and beautiful use for this great game today, and that was to enable Osai to perform like he's never performed before. Osei, as he keeps reminding us, has never acted before. He's an incredible musician, but is rather nervous of making his stage debut. Today though during an intimate scene between him and his stage nephew, the Oware came out and it was like he'd been training for years. The naturalness he found as soon as he was engaged in a familiar activity was astounding, not least because his timing was all of a sudden fantastic, bringing weight and humour to the scene which hadn't been there before.

And it's all thanks to Oware, all in all 70p well spent.


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