Traditional Games_ Antoakyire

In Ghana, parents pass down the games they played as children to their own kids. These games help preserve ghanaian culture as well as educating, socializing and entertaining children. Children often play games after dinner with other children from their own town or village. Some games are only played by single gender, By Kristen Marquette.

A typical example of the single gender game is Antoakyire. It is an Akan folk game literally meaning it was not put behind you. A game, believed to be played by guys alone, but this is not the case now, as I have seen so many children including girls play together after they are backmfrom school. It can incorporate up to 20 players. Before the games begin, the players choose a safe place or object, such as a nearby tree or on a compound when they all live in the same compound house, then one of the players volunteer to be the leader. Next, all the players except the leader sit in a circle on the ground.

The leader holds a piece of cloth with a knot tied at one end or sometimes a stone. It can be any objects at all. Players remain seated as the leader runs behind them and sings;

                    anto akyire o anto akyire o (then they will all respond)

                                            yie yie yie(2×)

                    obiba bewu o (somebody's child is about to suffer or die)

                                            yie yie yie

                                            Kapoi poi

                                           yie yie yie (all)

The song is repeated as many times as one continues to run around. The rule of the game is that, for those children sitting, no one is expected to look back. As the leader runs, he or she discreetly places his clpoth on the ground behind one of the players. If the chosen person notices the cloth behind him or her, he or she must leave his or position in the circle and chase the leader. If the chosen person tags the leader, he or she may reclaim his or her position in the cirrcle. If the leader runs one full circle around without being tageed, he claims the person's position in the circle. The chosen one then becomes the leader.

If the chosen person does not realize the cloth has been placed on the ground behind him, the first player will run all the way around the circle without being chased. The leader begin hitting the chosen person when he gets to his position, then he quickly takes the cloth and chase the other leader round the circle till he or she gets to the new leader's position in the circle. Once he reaches the safe place, the players begin a new game with the person who was hit by the first leader.


Antoakyire teaches the leader to be inconspicious and the boys in the circle to be aware of their suroundings, since any of the players could be victims of beating.

Traditional games such as Antoakyire make leisure times more enjoyable for the children and the whole family as well, encouraging children's involvement and interaction.

It also reflects the importance of tradition and heritage and encourages participation, competitiveness and fun.

It encourages and helps the children to stay fit and healthy as they engage inn all these traditional games.

The games does not only build thhei bodies but their minds as well, as they have to concentrate more on what they are doing and be all alert and concious of their bodies.