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How the Game is Used


In the typical African village, adults and children, females and males do not usually get to play games together. Yan-koloba is the only African social game that gathers persons of all ages, genders and physical and intellectual abilities around the same circle. By playing this game, people of all ages reinforce their concepts of respect, acceptance, trust, responsibility and leadership, unity and teamwork, in a fun and relaxed environment. Parents always take advantage of the Yan-koloba playing time to heighten the teaching of these concepts to the children. The youth, on their part, always seize this unique opportunity to challenge adults’ dexterity and coordination skills.

Overcoming Disability
At a training session in a retirement facility, as seven senior citizens started to play Yan-koloba, a lady mentioned to me that she could not use her right hand to pass the blocks since “this arm could not move” she said. As always, I encouraged her to use the hand that will best perform. As we moved from one variation of the game to the other, this lady got caught in the fun and energy at the playing table, and switched from the "good hand" to playing with her "bad hand." In the mist of the game the right hand turned out to be a very able and performing hand to the great satisfaction of all of us.

Bringing Generations Together
At another nursing home facility, a group of school children on a service-learning field trip shared a wonderful time with senior citizens. Yan-koloba turned out to be a fun learning activity that both elders and the youth could enjoy together.


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