WINDHOEK- Thirty-two-year-old Aron Hamukwaya has taken it upon himself to digitalise the Owela game. “I have created a lot of games and for the sake of interest, I wanted to play the Owela game on a digital platform, either on my phone or on the computer,” said Hamukwaya on how the idea was birthed.
With a background in Information and Computer Science, Hamukwaya who hails from the Etundalomutaku village in Ohangwena Region initially considered the digitalised version of the Owela game for himself. It attracted others to have a keen interest in the digitalised version. “What prompted me to digitalise the game was because of the preservation of culture,” explained Hamukwaya.
“I saw that the cultural knowledge of the game was getting lost and had to make a plan to keep that for the younger generations to still be aware of it, ” expounded Hamukwaya. Apart from the cultural preservation, Hamukwaya said the intention was to create a conducive social set-up. “It’s also about to provide a platform for people to play the game and have fun at different places,” he said.
Hamukwaya’s mission is to enable the game to be promoted globally. “We want to market it worldwide, for outsiders to know about our games. We have plenty of board games that are foreign, a perfect example would be chess-that is scattered all over the world, the same can be done for Owela,” said the hopeful Hamukwaya.
He said the game’s reception is tremendous. “It’s not a new game, people are familiar with it, they are loving this modern version of it already,” stated Hamukwaya. “We have had many people who came and played the game, with some saying they want to buy or rent it,” said Hamukwaya proudly.
He stated that they are working towards ensuring that either those interested in the game will have the opportunity to rent or buy it in the long run. “In the meantime, we are leasing the game for Team Building,” said Hamukwaya. The game was officially released to the public in 2016 and it falls under the Goldstone Software Engineering Institute, or institution that offers IT related fields, engineering and business.
“This venture has been so fruitful that we were awarded a youth innovation grant award by the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) by giving us more than N$300 000,” said Hamukwaya. He further indicated their efforts have been recognised to come up with the innovative product. “We were again, this year, acknowledged by MTC with N$10 000 donations to enhance the game,” said Hamukwaya.