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Mbube Mbube

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Traditional African Children's Game




Pronounced "Mboo-bay Mboo-bay," this game uses a Zulu word for lion. The Zulu tribe is based in what is modern-day South Africa. The game is good for groups of six or more.

In this game, children help a lion, or mbube, locate and capture an impala (a deer-like animal with antlers). Players begin the game standing in a circle and two blindfolded players start the game. One player is the lion and the other one is the impala.

First, both players are spun around. Next, players in the circle begin calling out to the lion, "mbube, mbube!" As the impala gets closer to the lion, the circle players’ chants get quicker and louder. Conversely, if the lion is far away, the circle’s chants decrease and get softer.

If the lion fails to catch the impala in a minute, a new lion is chosen, and if the lion catches the impala, a new impala is chosen.


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