Growing up in the 90’s was a whole lot fun, at least that is what myself and those born in the 90’s believe. We had entertainment on a whole different level compared to what you will describe nowadays; at least from a kid or a teenager’s perspective.
We had the opportunity to socialise with each other one on one and not over some medium they now call a days as social media. What is socialization when there is a medium or barrier hindering the human touch it comes with? Is that one to a socialisation?
On a serious note, after school around 4pm on a daily basis all the kids in the hood will gather together and there were a variety of games to engage in. From the ampe, to kpiting3, ludo, oware, pilolo amongst others. We were constantly engaged and entertained.
For you reading this article who might not know the games mentioned above, let me break it down. I will place emphasis on kpiting3, ampe and pilolo in order to make my point clearer. All the games involved two parties or more whose main focus was to compete although there were no prizes or awards to pick up. This kind of competition was a healthy one which did not only guarantee fun but came with other advantages.
Ampe usually involves two ladies clapping and thrust one foot forward whiles they jump with an agreeable point at the start of the game for which the first person who attains it is declared as the winner.
Kpiting3 involves using a broom stick stuck into a pen being use for this game. Again, you need to run through the whole dynamics of the game which requires your ability to point the broom stick pen to various parts of your hand and still having the pen stand firm after its dropped into a heap of sand. The party that attains the initially agreed point at the start of the game first, is declared the winner.
Pilolo on the other hand has a chosen leader with other children part taking in the game (ten or more). The leader makes sure the children face a wall whiles the leader runs off to hide sticks of a certain quantity for the children to go searching for. The sticks could be hidden under stones but a convenient place to find. As you find it, you run to touch the leader and get the highest point. The location is not disclosed to the other children till everyone finds the sticks.
Now to my point, the 90’s games allowed children to interface with one another first-hand devoid of any barrier. The entertainment derived was felt first-hand and unadulterated. It allowed for parties involved to be original with ideas in terms of deep thinking, observant and been analytic towards how to locate things in the case of pilolo.
Most importantly, it allowed for consistent exercise in all the games described above which meant staying healthy always. Running around looking for hidden sticks to jumping and thrusting foot forward meant that although teenagers were having fun, they were keeping their body healthy as well as minds sharp.
In the 90’s, childhood illness from cancer to obesity related illness was barely wide-spread. I stand to be corrected. At least if I ate junk food, I was sure that the next day after school during my active neighbourhood time out, I will shed all off.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against today’s way of socialising. Only that I believe it does not offer the full benefit I and my play mates derived when we say we are going out to play (socialise).
Today’s socialisation avenues (whose name I won’t mention for publicity purposes) rather have the avenues to lead persons to falsify their identity just to belong especially when one’s identity cannot be readily authenticated. Eventually if I should get to meet the person I all along have been socialising with, we can only hang out at a restaurant, cinema or at the club where again there is little energy-involving activity.
But games played in the 90’s required your physical presence so how do you fake your personality. Honesty was at the heart of all we did. 90’s games did not require any instrument at least nothing sophisticated but just an individual’s presence. No teenage then was tempted to go steal cash or engage in immoral acts (the list is endless), in order to purchase the latest phone which in today’s entertainment quest serves as the foundation. The more the cash if it must be stolen, the best quality of phone it can purchase.
The advantage of entertainment as I had come to see it in recent times when compared to the 90’s is still relevant. I will not advocate for parents not to allow their wards socialize via all the other avenues available now, but regulate how this is done.
I am not again saying do not equip teenagers with gadgets that can help them learn, but can we see if the purpose for which we are getting it for them stays relevant always. The exposure now a day is endless but if you ask me a little bit of the 90’s games introduced to your children will go a long way to keep their Ghanaian identity original.
Written By: Albert Agbenyegah(Phat Albert)