The following is a collection of Omweso-related terms and expressions recorded in Uganda.
Luganda - EnglishEdit
- (lit. "feminine") knock-out victory worth two points in a match (see rules of Omweso)
- (lit. "billion") a rare case of emitwe-ebiri worth six or twelve points in a match (see Omweso rules)
- the first seed dropped in okutebuka
- (lit. "to cut off") the second count of the referee in a Blitz match, when a player hesitates too long; if he hasn't moved at the end of this word, he loses his turn to the opponent (see also omu)
- (lit. "irreversible game") moves may not be taken back
- ekiti (pl. ebiti)
- memory aid in counting scores
- see okutema (Tamale 2005)
- ekyeso kyolutentezi oba ekitayalika
- (lit. "non stop/unending move") never-ending move (game to be repeated)
- (lit. "without counting") Blitz Omweso (moves must be immediately answered)
- (lit. "counting") players may think as long as their opponent doesn't demand that a move must be done
- (lit. "to cut off the head") to capture the contents of the the four ultimate holes (on the left and the right ends) of the opponent's rows
- empiki (also mpiki)
- the seeds of the Wild Banana (Musa acuminata), called in Uganda omuyiki, that are used as counters in Omweso
- essa (pl. amasa)
- the pits of the Omweso board
- opening moves
- kyeso kyansanve
- (lit. "the seventeen opening") a popular opening pattern in the 1930s (recorded by Shackell 1935)
- kyeso kyanyinya
- (lit. "the fourteen opening") a popular opening pattern in the 1930s (recorded by Shackell 1935)
- the seeds of a bush (Mesoneurum welwitschianum) used as counters to play Omweso
- short for empiki (Braunholtz 1931)
- (short for:) Omweso
- to cheat
- special victory condition (see Omweso rules)
- calling out an okutema (see proverbs for particular okulayira)
- to sow (Tamale 2005)
- (lit. "to go back") to move in a clockwise direction; reverse move (Shackell 1934)
- the distribution of seeds at the start of the game
- okutema (or ekutema)
- (lit. "to chop") double victory worth two points; it is achieved through emitwe-ebiri
- (lit. "to kill") to capture seeds
- okwa bulijo
- a normal victory worth one point in a match situation; it is achieved when the opponent can no longer move.
- the right to move first at the start of the game
- 1. sowing (counterclockwise); 2. an inauguration ritual of the Buganda kings involving a game of Omweso
- the first count of the referee in a Blitz match, if someone hesitates too long; see also ebiri
- omweso (also mweso, omwesso or mweisho; pl. eznyeso)
- 1. the national mancala game of the Baganda people in Uganda; 2. omweso board
Omweso Sayings and ProverbsEdit
Sayings used in the gameEdit
- "Jjajjnage Nnamuguzi e Kasagga."
"My ancestors Nnamuguzi and Kasagga!" - an okulayira. (Nsimbi 1970)
- "Kino kye kyeso ekitayesebwa namuko!"
"This is the opening one dos not play with one's brother-in-law!" - Said about a player who is several points behind in a match when he sows the first seeds. The brother-in-law plays in Uganda the same role as in Europe the mother-in-law. He may give his sister to sombody else, if he dislikes the man. (Shackell 1935)
- "Ku lwa Kabaka!"
"In the name of the King!" - Said in the Baganda kingdom before somebody was decapitated. Today a victory through emitwe-ebiri is announced by this phrase. (Shackell 1935)
- "Kyeso kino ye musota g(i)uli mu ntamu."
"This is the snake-in-the-pot opening." - Ironic saying which said for a complicated opening. It refers to another Baganda proverb: "If you leave the snake in the pot, you get nothing to eat. If you try to smah the snake, you will break the pot." (Shackell 1935)
- "Nkuyege zigulya!"
"Hurry up or the white Ants will eat the board!" - Said when a player thinks too long over his next move. (Shackell 1934)
- "Nnannyinimu ali ku bbali."
"My friend, the guest!" - an okulayira. (Nsimbi 1970)
- "Omugobe tansooka kuwera!"
"The loser doesn't precede me in swearing loyalty and bravery." - Usually the loser starts the next game, but the winner can insist to start if he says this proverb. (Nsimbi 1970)
- "Omweso enkuyege zigulya!"
"The board is eaten by white ants." - similar to "Nkuyege zigulya!"; to demand a move in eky'okubala. (Nsimbi 1970)
- "Toleka bafu mabega."
"Leave no dead bodies behind!" - Said when somebody forgets to remove captured seeds from opponent's pits during a move. (Nsimbi 1970)
Proverbs used in daily lifeEdit
- "Akimanyi nga mweso."
"He knows it like a game of Omweso." - A person who is an expert on something is compared to an Omweso master. (Nsimbi 1970)
- "Akutté mú lya 'mpiki."
"He has put his hand in an empty hole." - The situation of a person who find his belongings missing, is compared to a player who all of a sudden finds an empty hole where he had hoped to collect seeds. (Nsimbi 1970)
- "Gw'oyigiriza okwesa akugobya."
"A person whom you've taught Omweso, can beat you with 16 seeds." - a student can exceed his teacher's skills and wisdom some day. (Nsimbi 1970)
- "Mumpi ng'empiki."
"He is as small as an empiki." - Metaphorical for a very small man. (Nsimbi 1970)
- Braunholtz, H. J.
- The Game of Mweso in Uganda. In: Man: A Monthly Record of Anthropological Science 1931; 31 (July): 121-122 plus Plate G.
- Nsimbi, M. B.
- Omweso: A Game People Play in Uganda (Occasional Paper #6) . University of California, African Studies Center, Berkeley CA (USA) 1970.
- Shackell, R. S.
- Mweso: The Board Game. In: Uganda Journal (Kampala, Uganda) 1934; 2 (July): 14-20.
- Shackell, R. S.
- More about Mweso. In: Uganda Journal (Kampala, Uganda) 1935; 3 (July): 119-129.
- Tamale, S.
- Eroticism, Sensuality and Women's Secrets among the Baganda: A Critical Analysis. In: Feminist Africa 2005 (5).
- Wernham, B.
- Omweso: The Royal Mancala Game of Uganda (Boardgames in Academia V). Paper presented at Board Game Studies Colloquium V, Barcelona (Spain) 2001 (21th-25th April).