Popular Games

The life of rural people in the southern provinces is characterized by the plethora of popular games, means of entertainment as well as private amusement. Of these games, the following are in order:

Checkers: It is a popular game that looks like the checkers game in popularity nowadays, the exceptional difference being that it consists of more squares; it can include up to forty squares indeed. It is often drawn upon sand, and is played with sticks and camel dung. The game of checkers, be it noted, is particularly suitable for the elderly, of whom some have excelled in the game so much so that they are now quoted as examples.

Of the other games that are more specific to youth one can cite here what is known as ‘hib,’ ‘arah,’ and ‘dili,’ all of which are games that involve a high degree of virility, an ideal character disposition, the ability to defend women and, last but not least, self-reliance.

As far as free time is concerned, Sahraoui women spend most of their time in weaving wool and reciting poetry. Some women may chose to spend their free time with their female friends who happen to be housewives, socializing and drinking tea and milk together. They also engage in discussions about various subjects. Moreover, the social gatherings that they take part in may include what Sahraoui women call “wankala,” which is a form of turn-taking in that the women would gather in one female friend’s house on a rotation basis. There they play ‘sik’ and ‘akrour’; or dance the famous ‘kussel’ dance. There are, however, games where the two genders, and at times people from different age brackets, take part. An example of these games is what is known as “Niruba jat wa la ma jat,’ which literally means ‘has Niruba arrived or not?’

As far as night time is concerned, one notices that Sahraoui people have become accustomed to spending night-time under the light of the silver moon, stretching as they do on flower-covered bushes or on high sand dunes, where they set up gatherings during which they dance, sing, entertain themselves as well as discuss matters pertaining to literature and Islamic law. In these gatherings, which are spent in an atmosphere of utmost respect, the two genders may mix, and everyone is called to compete in a talent show; they are all led to show their gift in matters of literary taste; that is, how, for example, capable they are in learning poetry and narratives by heart.
 


    
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