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Traditional African Sports that Survived Colonialism – Africa Facts Zone


Arica Facts Zone presents traditional african sports that survived Colonialism.

Entertainment has always been a part of human culture. These traditional African sports may not have been well documented, but there is little doubt that they existed. Here are a few of them that still exist to this day.

Traditional African sports that Exist Today

Hunting, is one of the foremost traditional African sports in Africa.

Since the beginning of time, people have been hunting. It began as a means of securing food, but has since evolved into a worldwide vocation. There are certain countries in Africa that allow hunting to be practised as a form of recreational activity.

Traditional African Sports that Survived Colonialism - Africa Facts Zone
Credit: Christina Aidehuela / AFP

Deer-hunting festivals are held in Ghana in May, known as the Aboakyer Festival or the Deer-Hunting Festival. The residents of Simpa or Winneba (Efutus) in Ghana’s Central Region commemorate the festival.

The Aboakyer celebration commemorates the Western Sudanese Empire’s relocation to Simpa, or what is now known as Winneba.

Appeasing the god Penkye Otu was a requirement for those who arrived in their new home. A human sacrifice was demanded by the gods, and over time the people appealed with the gods for an animal sacrifice instead of a human one. In exchange for the human offerings, the god accepted the deer. The sport of deer hunting was born as a result of this.

The first group of young men to return from the forest with a live and undamaged deer wins the competition. Gifts are given, and the deer is sacrificed.

Wrestling, One of Africa’s most popular traditional African sport

Wrestling served as a source of pride and honour for many individuals and groups. Wrestling competitions were held among Nigeria’s Igbo people to identify talented wrestlers. Later, they were awarded titles and elevated in social standing.

A “guy is deemed to be a man only when he has efficiently and effectively dealt with challenging conditions,” according to the Igbos.

Traditional African Sports that Survived Colonialism - Africa Facts Zone

In West Africa, traditional African wrestling is immensely popular, and wrestlers from Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, and Guinea all compete each year in international championships. As in Senegal’s Women’s Bakweri traditional wrestling, women participate in the sport as well.

Stickfighting Nguni

Nguni is the name given to this traditional African sport in its native South Africa. Herdsmen and young people alike enjoyed this exercise. Battles of sticks are fought between two players at a time in this two-player game. It is possible for participants to form teams and compete against one other until a group emerges victorious.

Traditional African Sports that Survived Colonialism - Africa Facts Zone

The game could run more than five hours, but it’s a treat to see. Players are warned that the game could get bloody if they damage each other. The game has been outlawed in some southern African countries, but it is still popular in rural regions. Spectators gather to watch in awe as participants are selected and trained.

Also Read: Safari Holiday in Africa: Top 10 Destinations in Africa For a Safari Holiday

Racing Donkeys

Credit: MoMo Africa/ Lamu, Kenya

This yearly event, which takes place on Kenya’s car-free island of Lamu, attracts tens of thousands of spectators eager to watch professional jockeys compete against well-trained donkeys.


Kgati, or ntimo or ugqaphu, is a two-player skipping traditional African sports. The third player skips in a variety of ways while chanting and singing as two other players hold the skipping rope.

During the 2012 World Sport for All Games, South Africa’s Kgati squad won gold.

Racing Camels

It is a traditional African sport in which camels are run at high speed, with a rider attached, through a predetermined route.

As a mode of transportation, camels have traditionally been utilised, but they are also bred for their meats, milks, and hides.

African martial art of Capoeira

Afro-Brazilian martial arts were popularised by enslaved Africans in Brazil during the 16th century as a recreational activity for those who were not working on the plantations. This is an extremely indulgent traditional African sport that incorporates music and dancing. The indigenous Angolans called it N’golo, according to its Angolan origins.

Traditional African Sports that Survived Colonialism - Africa Facts Zone

It was initially a religious/spiritual practise that linked the living to their ancestors through its pulsating, yet slow, dances to a piece of music. Ancestors are said to be able to take control of participants and use them to communicate with the living while they are participating in the sport. Slap boxing, evasion, jumping, and kicking are just a few of the many techniques that are employed. After many attempts by their masters to dissuade them from practising it, the Afro-Brazilian community evolved it into a sport.

Boating Competitions

Prior to colonisation, fishing was a common pastime for coastal residents. Using their boats, they ventured out into the oceans in search of fish, but that was not the only thing they did while they were there.

Credit: Global Press Journal

Boat racing was also a popular pastime among the group, and they would sometimes compete for a prize.

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