Ugandan fashions old ‘kwepena’ game into modern sport

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Girls playing kwepena game

A Ugandan graduate Simon Tumukunde is seeking to standardise “an old school beloved backyard game” “Kwepena” aka “cheza” into a formal sport recognised worldwide.

Tumukunde who recently graduated from Makerere University told “This Is Uganda”, a blog that markets Ugandan culture and heritage, that this game too can be given fame.

Kwepena or cheza involves three people [usually girls]. Two girls stand opposite each other while a third girl stands in the middle.

The two girls [shooters] throw the ball at the girl at the centre [dodger] who keeps skipping and dodging it until one hits her. Then another person is asked to take the centre role.

It is an old game many “Museveni generation” products enjoyed especially those who grew up in the countryside.

It was a favourite sport for girls both at school [break time, lunch time or after classes] and at home while grazing or having leisure time.

Tumukunde who has a passion for this game says he has never seen a tournament for kwepena which can easily be held anywhere—netball pitches or at the beach.

Tumukunde told This Is Uganda he would assemble a team of lawyers to help with the legal work and a team of technical people who would help with the design of the balls, the court and the publicity of the sport.

Simon Tumukunde who is re-inventing the game

Tumukunde, the founder of Cheza says he is an award winning leader, creative consultant and a futurist who is taking kwepena to Olympics.

His dream is to see Cheza being played at the Olympics. The game was first launched on July 28, 2014 at Kati Kati in Lugogo Kampala.

Cheza has since been taken to the grass roots including primary and secondary schools.

Kitante Hill School, Gayaza high school and Kakungulu SS were among the first schools that embraced this game.

The formal game, according to the blog, is now played in four rounds and in teams of five. Each team has dodgers and shooters collectively known as chezas.

A system for measuring points and errors has been put in place and this has created cheza to be one of the most competitive game there is.