Namibian Tradition Goes Digital
Namibian innovation is growing in leaps and bounds with inventors and scientists banding together to grow innovation in the country. One such example is that of Aron Hamukwaya, the Managing Director of National Software Engineering Academy, who has developed a digital game that aims to bring communities together and keep our cultural heritage alive.
Aron’s invention was supported by the National Commission on Research and Science Technology, who assisted to develop the product and also assisted with training, mentorship and promoting the invention.
99FM’s MYD Smart spoke to the young Namibian inventor, Aron to talk about his exciting invention, the Digital Owela Game, that is both traditional and modern, perfectly balanced.
99FM’s MYD Smart asked :
Tell us about your invention?
“Owela Game is a digital game based on the much loved Owela traditional game played in Namibia and in many parts of Africa.”
“It is called by different names in different tribes such as: //hüs, owela, osholo, xoros, ogoro, onjune, otjitoto, lochspiel and others. The game has been played in holes that are created in the ground. This game dates back to the ancient times as it was played by ancestors of all the tribes in Namibia.”
“National Software Engineering Academy (NSEA) came up with the dynamic electronic Owela game, engineered to have features that automate the game to create a virtual Owela gaming community as well as person vs. computer challenge. This resulted in the creation of the Owela Touch Table prototype on which players can play the game digitally in the language of their choice. Currently there are 9 Namibian languages represented on the platform. The platform allows for companies to place adverts as well so that they may be exposed during the game.”
How did you come up with the idea?
“The idea started while I was still in University, in fact some friends are saying I spoke about it when I was still at high school. I saw that the Namibian games were not digitalised and I felt there was a need to preserve our culture and at the same time give people an opportunity to enjoy their tradition.”
What do you hope to achieve with this invention?
“I hope to give access to everyone in Namibia, Africa and the rest of the world to play this wonderful game. I would like to turn it into a good business model as well in order to give jobs to people in an effort to reduce unemployment.”
How important do you think it is that we find balance in our lives, balance between traditional values and technological development?
“I think it is very import to keep our good traditional values as they give us uniqueness, but it is hard to do so these days as technology develops rapidly at a very fast rate. In order not to lose our traditional values, we need to create platforms that allow us to preserve them. This way, we will ensure that we do not only preserve them, but also create employment opportunities and add value to our traditional products and services.”
“The next step is to buy more machines and take the game to the market. We have devised a marketing strategy already. There are already many people interested in buying and leasing the machines.”
The Owela Game is fast making strides and has already won the Youth Innovator Grand Award here in Namibia. The game has been heralded as a great tool for learning mathematics, developing and strengthening critical thinking skills.
For more information check out the Owela Game Facebook page by clicking here