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International Game: Banyoka

Though associated with Zambia, the game was played by the Bemba tribe who lived in what is now both Zambia and the southern part of Zaire. Banyoka means "the snakes". The game probably developed from observing these creatures roaming the region.

How to Play

1. Choose a play area that is a bit of an obstacle course, with bushes and large rocks. For younger players, it's probably best to have the starting point be atop a hill. You can create an obstacle course using toys, pillows, boxes, and cartons.

2. The players divide into two groups, each group havng at least six players.

3. Each group becomes a "Snake" by the players sitting one behind the other on the ground, legs spread and hands placed on the shoulders of the player in front, or arms wrapped around the waist.

4. Each snake moves forward by the players swaying their bodies back and forth. The snake can sing a song.

5. The object of the snake is to reach a designated finish line first. But the real fun of the game is to maneuver around bushes, rocks, and/ or other objects, to "slither" around and over them while remaining connected to each other.

6. The game can also be played with one snake. The competitive aspect is gone, replaced by a follow-the-leader quality. The "head" of the snake decides the direction, turning one way then another and choosing which obstacles to go across or around. If the line is long enough, it's fun for players to deal with a new obstacle or change of direction while players farther behind are still coping with the previous one.


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