Africans are taking the world by storm showing the world what they are capable of. Africa has a number of individuals representing it in the game development industry.
Namibia’s very own Aron Hamukwaya, developed a digital game that aims to bring communities together and keep cultural heritage alive.
The game called Owela, is a modified version of a popular African game which was originally played in holes dug into the ground, with two or four rows of holes. Although it is called by different names in different tribes such as owela, osholo, ogoro, lochspiel, tsoro and others, the game is said to date back to ancient times when it was played by the ancestors of all the tribes in Namibia.
When Aron was introduced to programming, he realised that he could do a lot as a computer specialist. Because he is a firm believer in keeping local traditions alive, with the help of his academic experience in the computer industry, of course, he was able to come up with the computerised version of the beloved ‘Owela’ traditional game.
Talk about charity beginning at home!
Well, the fun feature about the Owela game is that it can create a virtual Owela gaming community as well as a person vs. computer challenge, meaning that you can play the game even when you’re alone; it also features the Owela Touch Table prototype where players can play the game digitally in the language of their choice, pretty smooth isnt it?
Currently, there are 9 Namibian languages represented on the platform. Aron hopes to give access to everyone to play his game and would like to turn it into a good business model that will create jobs. Companies are also allowed to place their adverts so that they can be exposed during the time the game is being played.
Like most inventors, Aron studied information science and computer technology.
The reason behind his invention was that Namibian games were not digitalised and felt there was a need to preserve his culture and at the same time give people an opportunity to enjoy their tradition. He believes that it is important to keep traditional values as they make one unique.
Already, one of his “Owela game” highlights are winning the Youth Innovator Grand Award in Namibia. He invented another ‘Okawela game’ that won him an award at the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST).
So as you can see, IT industry is not stereotypical according to age, race or even your environment. It accommodates everyone who has the love and interest in it what’s more you can recreate a virtual environment to mimic whichever community you come from!
Countless Namibian youth are breaking out in this field, like 15-year old, Berhane Wheeler who designed a video game called ‘The Heroes of Namibia’ which focuses on helping children to learn about Namibian historical figures.
Berhane started developing digital games at a young age, roughly around 12 years old after his mother introduced him to “Scratch”, which is a programming language. Imagine that, an actual 12-year old, breaking new ground.
If these young guys can do it, why can’t you?
You too can reach for the stars and achieve your dreams and goals regardless of where you come from. Make the first steps towards learning the basics of some of these industries that are taking the world by storm.
Botho University offers a variety of modern degrees designed to keep you ahead of the game. If you are interested in tech-inspired courses, browse our FACULTY OF COMPUTING and register today.