I sat down with Kenneth Middleton to discover more about Setso Games, and what they offer. Kenneth is a graphic designer and he has been in the advertising industry for several years now. He also uses his experience in the design of the Setso Games. He and his two other partners Batswana Basimolodi and Karabo Tlhophane are the men behind the games. However Kenneth Middleton is the hands on, managing directer.
What Is Setso Games?
Setso Games is a company that celebrates traditional games as an important part of our culture. They were started in 2014 and they use innovation and design to make traditional games equipment.
What Inspired The Setso Games Concept?
Kenneth and his partner’s inspiration came from two places.
They played traditional games when they were growing up. It also came from Kenneth being a graphic designer. He’s always looking for unique aspects of Botswana’s culture that he could use in his designs. They used this inspiration, and “Setso Games” was born. It’s the first of its kind and the games are a unique part of Botswana’s culture. Kenneth and his partners are the pioneers of this concept in Botswana.
They started off by writing a book called, “Metshameko Ya Setso: How to play Setswana traditional games. Following the book, they then ventured into designing equipment to play the games.
The Challenges They Have Faced
Kenneth says one of the biggest challenges was getting people to understand the concept. That even though these games are/were traditionally played at home with re-purposed materials they can be modernized. As a business based on traditional games they seek to improve the games and have equipment specifically designed to play them. Also having been able to design equipment to play these games, non-Batswana can take a piece of our culture to their motherlands.
What Ages Do The Games Cater For?
Setso games cater for all ages. Apart from the Setso Games team building services they also offer games play days. These are workshops that teach children how to play some of Botswana’s traditional games. They also rent out their traditional games for events such as family fun days.
What Games Can You Buy And Where?
One of Botswana’s favourite games is Mhele. You can find older men playing this game all over Botswana; outside bars, government buildings to mention a few. Mhele is a strategic board game. They’ve developed Mhele kits, which are for sale. They sell a standard version and they also give the customer an option to customize a Mhele kit with logos and brand colours. (This is only available for larger orders.)
You can contact Kenneth for orders at [email protected]
The Setso Games tournament is one of their initiatives towards the development of traditional games.
Kenneth says. “In the wake of globalization and industrialization, the West has exported its values, culture and sports to the four corners of the globe. In fact the world is becoming more and more uniform, similar and boring.”
Setso Games intends to bring colour, diversity and vibrancy to the sporting world through traditional games. Today traditional games have been neglected in favour of industrialized sports. When compared to modern industrialized sports, traditional games become less worthy. So Setso Games intend to break the local siege of western sports by playing traditional games in a professional sporting environment.
This will be setso games fourth tournament and players will compete in one of three games; Batho safe, Mhele and Chama.
The tournament has a senior and junior category. The junior category will be for players below 12 years. The senior category will be for players above 12 years old. The tournament will be at BNYC (Botswana National Youth Council) grounds. The event will be on Saturday the 8th December 2018.
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