The Global Game Project: Zambia

We love games of all shapes and sizes, and guess what? So does the rest the world. This is part of a larger project to document a homegrown game from every country in the world.

Like in many parts of the world, the goat is a staple of rural life, and true to Jesus’ bizarre edict (and the subsequent Cake song) that “Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell,” the goat isn’t exactly the most respectable creature. There is a Zambian joke that goes as follows:

A cow, a goat, and a dog take a mini-bus into town. The cow paid in full, the goat jumped the fare, and the dog was owed change. That is why when you see a minibus coming down the road, the cow sidles on comfortably, the goat flees into the bushes, and the dog chases after (to get its money back).

Below, a game as told by Anne and Chikondi, two aid workers who work for WorldVision International and live in the capital of Zambia, Lusaka.

NAME: Kambuzi Kalilalila-Mee (The Crying Goat)
PLAYERS: More than 5
ITEMS NEEDED: A soft ball

1. Children form a circle and sit facing the center.

2. One child has the ball and runs on the outside of the circle singing the following song:

           Kambuzi Kalilalila (A crying goat)     
           Mee! (All singing) [goat sound]
           Ndepelomunandi (I will give it to my friend)
           Mee! (All) [goat sound]
           El twangalanakwe (Whom I play with)
           Mee! [goat sound]
           Elyo kusukulu (At school)
           Mee mee! (All x2) [goat sound x2]
           Kalilila lila (It’s crying, crying.)

3. At the peak of the song, the child who is running outside of the circle drops the ball behind another. The “chosen” child picks up the ball and tries to tag the first kid.

4. The first kid must run around the circle until he reaches the now-vacant spot. He sits down if he is not tagged with the ball.

5. If he is tagged, he must exit and the circle becomes one member smaller.

6. Play resets when the circle becomes too small.


Photograph by Jeff Attaway