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Mefuvha DLP Game   

Period Modern

Region Eastern Africa, Southern Africa

Category Board, Sow, Four rows


Mefuhva is a four-row mancala-style board game played by the Venda people in South Africa. It is played by men on large boards or in hollows dug into the ground.


4x6-28 board; 16-20 is most common, only even numbers of holes. Two counters in each hole except the leftmost on the inner row, which is left empty, and the one to its right which contains one counter. Players sow by picking up the counters in any of their holes and sowing them in an anti-clockwise direction. Sowing continues when the last counter falls into an occupied hole by picking up the counters in that hole and continuing in the same direction. When the final counter lands in an empty hole in the inner row, the counters in the opponent's hole opposite in the inner row are captured; if there are also counters in the opponent's outer row opposite, these are also captured. The player is also entitled to capture counters in any other hole on the opponent's side. The turn ends with a capture and the opponent's turn begins. Play always begins with a stylized move, where the counters are taken from the third hole from the left in the inner row, sowing and making captures as described above. Players may not sow single counters unless there are no holes on their side containing multiple counters. Play ends when one player has captured all of their opponent's counters.

Stayt 1931: 364-366.


South Africa

Ludeme Description



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Murray 1951: 211

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Murray, H.J.R. 1951. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Stayt, H. A. 1931. The Bavenda. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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