Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Keila: An Original Angola Board Game

Kiela is a mancala game played by Kimbundu speaking people in northern Angola near Grandos Lagos and Alto Zambeze. The name of the game means "puzzle" or "mindsport"
The game plays an important role in the oral literature and it is said to be a game of peace because "it can turn enemies into friends".
The "Instituto Nacional do Património Cultural" reports that the first official tournament was held in 1989 by the SIAC/Fenacult.  Later in 1999, the government of Angola instituted the "Prémio Kiela", a tournament which has offered prizes up to 1,500 US$ for the winner. In the early 2000s, the game was supported by the Angolan Ministry of Culture and the province governor Aníbal Rocha.
In 1991, Bernardo Francisco Campos developed the first Kiela software and registered it with the Directorate of Spectacles Property Rights, in Lisbon.  Later in 2001, Campos founded an Angolan organization called "Associação para a Promoção do Kiela (Aprokiela)" with the objective to promote Kiela and other cultural values. Campos also trademarked the game in 18 countries, among them South Africa, the European Union, and the USA.

Playing Rules
Kiela is played on a board made by four rows of ten holes. Each player controls the two rows on his side of the board.
The initial position depends on the experience and strength of the players:
   Beginners start with one seed in each hole of the outer rows and one stone in each of the four right holes of each player's inner row.

Initial Position for Beginners

   Advanced players start with two seeds per hole in the same holes as described above.

Initial Position for Advanced Players

   Expert players may, at their first turn, rearrange the stones on their side.

Possible Position after Expert Play

At his turn a player takes the contents of one of his holes, which contains two or more seeds, and sows them one by one anti-clockwise into the succeeding holes of his board side.
If the last stone lands in an empty hole, the turn ends.
If the last stone lands in an occupied hole all these stones (the one just landed plus the ones that were already there) are picked up and sown in another lap.
   If this occupied hole is in the inner row and the opposite hole of the opponent is occupied, the stones of this hole are captured and the player keeps on sowing with them starting in the hole following the one that allowed him to capture.
   If the outer hole of the opponent is also occupied, the player captures also its stones, and then sows the stones of both opponent's holes.

When a player cannot move (i.e., all his holes are empty or contain single stones), he has lost. (From

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Angola's Fishing Resurgence

Angola currently produces over 300,000 tons per year of fish and crustaceans, of which some 85% is consumed locally and aims to increase production by 30% in the coming years.  One-third of Angola’s animal protein comes from fish and artisan fishing represents 30% of the country’s total fishing activity countrywide.

Despite a clear abundance of fish stocks, there is, as yet, no intense exploitation of the resource and few sizeable fishing vessels are in evidence.   Nevertheless, such is the plenitude that Angolan’s fish and shellfish industry is already returning to its former pre-war prosperity.

Fisheries minister Victória de Barros Neto believes Angola has the potential to land much greater catches.  The long coastline, normally blessed with hospitably calm seas, is clearly capable of greater sustained development and of providing food resources to meet the population’s demand for a healthier diet.   Angola’s coast is 1,600 km long and its exclusive economic zone waters cover 330,000 sq. km.

As part of its effort to boost the fishing industry, Angola will hold its first ever International Fishing and Aquaculture Fair.  FIP Angola (Feira Internacional das Pescas e da Aquaculture de Angola) runs from November 27-30. The event claims to promote the quality of fishery products, facilitate the exchange of experience and encourage innovation.  Over 15 various countries have signed up to participate in this knowledge-sharing program.

Angola also has a well-developed tradition of sea angling as a sport along its extensive and uncrowded coast. The most accessible type of hobby-fishing involves beach-casting where not only record-sized fish can be captured, but provides a cost-efficient food source.

Game fishing from boats, is conducted by long-established clubs to distances as far as 50km offshore to hunt giant fighting fish such as blue marlins and tarpon.

Some of the largest Atlantic sailfish are caught off Luanda, and a record specimen of 64.6kg was landed off Lobito in March 2014.   Angolan holds many of the world line records for sailfish and a Sailfish Classic game fish competition is held in Luanda every year with contestants taking part from around the globe.

Angola’s Ministry of Fisheries is making large investments in long-term structuring, spending $60 million on two fisheries protection and research vessels.  These will help fight illegal fishing of protected species while also acting as rescue boats. In order to reinforce Angola’s capacity to control and inspect fisheries, the ministry also acquired scientific research vessel Pensador to study phytoplankton and zooplankton.

Another Ministry of Fisheries initiative announced in June involves using fish waste and fish with low commercial value in the production of animal feed supplements and fertilizer. The effort will also reduce the problem of environmental contamination.

The future looks increasingly bright for Angola’s diet as well as the fish and seafood resources that serve it. (From Sonangol Universo Magazine Sept 2014)