Bullfighting Kenya

4 Traditional Kenyan Sports

It’s no secret that Kenya is a nation that takes its sports seriously. The country has produced lots of great athletes, many who have earned global recognition.

Some of these athletes have become favorites for punters on Betway sport betting because of their talent.

Besides modern sports, there are traditional sporting activities that Kenyans used to enjoy before the British arrived and changed the local sports culture.

So…what are some traditional Kenyan sports?

Read on to find out more.

1. Bullfighting

Bullfighting is prevalent among the Luhya community of western Kenya.

The sport was originally practiced to mark key events in the community, such as funerals.

However, the sport has evolved to become more competitive, and is a source of income on occasion.

The lovers of this sport have vowed to ensure that this treasured traditional sport lives on. Kenyan bull owners have formed an association, and plans are underway to build a bullfighting stadium at Malinya in Kakamega.

2. Board Games (Bao)

Bao is an ancient mancala board game played by the Swahili community in Kenya and Tanzania.

Bao is the Swahili word for board or board game.

A person who masters the game well is referred to as bingwa (master) or fundi (technician).

The game is still popular at the Kenyan coast, especially in Lamu, where Bao tournaments are held regularly today.

These bao tournaments may not be popular enough to get listed on platforms such as Betway, but they attract considerable attention.

Bao usually attracts scholars because of the strategic and complex thinking required to win the game.

Scholars of disciplines such as psychology, complexity theory, and game theory are fascinated by Bao.

Kenyan communities, other than the Swahili, also have their own versions of Bao, including the Turkana, Luhya, Luo, and Samburu.

3. Wrestling (Enyameni, Ndikano)

A number of communities in Kenya practice traditional wrestling, including the Abagusii where it is known as enyameni and the Ameru where it is called ndikano.

Generally, these games feature two strong men, preferably ones who have already married, aged between 25 and 45 years.

These men battle it out in an open field with a charged crowd cheering them on.

Winning the game requires a combination of both strength and strategy. He who fells his opponent is declared the winner.

These traditional forms of wrestling risk losing their significance as people shift their interest towards more modern forms of wrestling.

4. Stick Fights

You will find some sort of stick fighting among several different communities in Kenya, especially herding ones. The sport is also very popular in Lamu on the Kenyan coast.

If you visit Lamu, you will often find crowds enjoying a stick fight at the waterfront.

This form of stick fighting is believed to have originated from Oman, which has historical ties with Lamu that stretch back more than a century.

Final Thoughts

Despite the influence of western culture and modern sports, Kenyan communities seem to be fighting hard to safeguard their heritage, including indigenous sports.

Even though these sports are not popular on platforms such as Betway, they remain an important cultural treasure.

If you travel to remote villages in Kenya, you will still find locals taking part in these beloved traditional sports.

Photo Credit: Washington Examiner


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