Mancala World

Film Poster of 'No Seed'

Mancala is often represented in films. Sometimes merely as decoration, often with a deeper, symbolic meaning. Film genres include documentaries, comedies, science-fiction films, and thrillers. The oldest films showing the game were made in the 1910s.

Mancala also made it into TV news in the Ivory Coast, Uganda, the Philippines, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, and France.

Many other classic board games have also been shown in films, which include Chess, Draughts, Go and their variants. Modern games, such as Camelot, Monopoly, and Mensch ärgere dich nicht, sometimes played a role too. The game known as "Tri-Dimensional Chess", which is shown in many Star Trek episodes, was reconstructed by a fan of the series, Andrew Bartmess, and has then become a popular Chess variant.

"A conspicious symbol for the fatal key note of the film is the image of two men playing a game. A caption explains that they play Chess, however, it is Kalah or a variant thereof."

Olaf Möller about the documentary "In the German Sudan"

List of Film Productions and TV Programs

The films are in chronological order starting with the most recent. The tables only include films which were shown at cinemas, film festivals, art expositions or universities, broadcasted by a television channel or sold commercially.


The listings include TV reports (linked to current events), ethnographic films (made by researchers), travel documentaries and creative documentaries.

Title Year Director Distributor Running time Country Languages Genre Description
Alles im Fluss - Leben auf dem Hausboot 2016 Tim Gorbauch & Thomas Vogel Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) 43 Minutes Germany German Documentary Two children play Kalah on a houseboat (video).
Mancala: A Documentary on Children's Experiences on the Migratory Journey 2015 (?) International Organization for Migration (IOM) 12 Minutes Switzerland English Documentary About mancala in Syria (video).
Mangala Oyunu (Episode of Tarihin Seyir Defteri) 2013 (?) TRT Turk 2 Minutes Turkey Turkish Documentary About Mangala (video).
My Zanzibar: Passing on a Cultural Heritage 2013 (?) Africa 24 Media 55 Minutes Kenya English Documentary Showing Bao la Kiswahili twice at 13:46 and 14:08 (video).
Omweso: Omuzannyo ogusanyusa Omutanda 2013 (?) Bukkede TV 6 Minutes Uganda Luganda Documentary About Omweso (video).
Mankala (Još uvek budni sa Ivon - May 9, 2013) 2013 (?) studio B 16.5 Minutes Serbia Serbian Report About the mancala exhibition of the Belgrade Museum of African Art (video).
Serenata de Amor 2013 Benny Sato Ambush SPIA Productions 15 Minutes USA Portuguese Creative Documentary / Cultural Short Film Showing Ouri at 1:34 (video).
Toghiz Qumalaq (episode of Zamandastar) 2013 (?) 24KZ 10 Minutes Kazakhstan Kazakh Documentary About teaching Toguz Kumalak to children with Maksat Shotayev, Serik Aktayev and other masters (video).
South Africa to Zanzibar Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve #1 2012 Andrew Carter BBC Two 59 Minutes UK English Documentary Film Very short [[Bao la Kiswahili] scene on Zanzibar (video)
Uganda: Die Geschichte hinter "Kony 2012" 2012 Arnim Stauth NDR 7 Minutes Germany German Report Shows a game of "Bao" (probably Omweso) in progess (video).
Durch Kenias wilden Norden - Vom Turkansee bis ans Ende der Welt (weltreisen) 2011 Werner Zappenfeld Westdeutscher Rundfunk 30 Minutes Germany German Travel Documentary Several Turkana men playing and watching a mancala game on the shore of Lake Turkana, Kenya.
Hafswa Saggaf - Woman Curver in Lamu 2011 Khamis Ramadhan (?) 9 Minutes Kenya English Report On a woman artist making wooden frames, Bao boards, and more (video).
Lamu Cultural Festival 2011 Khamis Ramadhan Lamu Cultural Promotion Club / Alliance Française de Nairobi 18.5 Minutes Kenya English Report The festival includes Bao competitions (video).
Malawi - A Country in Southern Africa (Growing Up in Malawi - Episode 1) 2011 (?) Credit Suisse 14 Minutes Switzerland English Creative Documentary Shows a game of Bawo in progess (video).
Malawi - Wege aus der Armut - mehr Landrechte für Frauen (Rio+20 DW Spezial) 2011 (?) Deutsche Welle 4 Minutes Germany German Report Shows a game of Bawo in progess (video).
Nguyen Phan Chanh Painting Restoration Project (Dự án phục hồi tranh lụa Nguyễn Phan Chánh) 2011 (?) Creative Position Core Co. 29 Minutes Japan French, Japanese, Vietnamese Documentary Film The film, which is about the restoration of silk paintings, shows Chơi Ô ăn quan (video).
Koutammakou - Land der Batammariba (Schätze der Welt - Erbe der Menschheit) 2010 Faranak Djajali & Rüdiger Lorenz SWR 15 Minutes Germany German Documentary Film Villagers play a single-lap mancala game in the evening hours (video).
L'auale (Tot un Món) 2010 Bernat Casanova & Charles Solà La Factoria d'Imatges 5 Minutes Spain Catalan Documentary Film A short film about Oware, which was shown on the Catalan TV Channel TV3 (film).
Linda Hoffman & Blase Provitola - Mancala (ART IN THE PARK) 2010 (?) WCCA TV 13 17 Minutes USA English Report About an artwork (video).
Mangala (Gümüş Hilal) 2010 (?) TRT Türk 3 Minutes Turkey Turkish Report About Mangala (video).
Mangala (Panorama) 2010 (?) TRT Arabic 12 Minutes Turkey Arabic Report Discussing Mangala (video).
Mangala (Tarİh Dergİsİ - Episode of January 24, 2010) 2010 (?) TRT 2 4 Minutes Turkey Turkish Documentary Film Showing Mancala (video).
Nizwa, dans le sillage de Henry de Monfreid 2010 (filmed in 2008) Vincent Dumesnil Alif Productions 52 Minutes France French (English) Travel Documentary Men playing mancala on a beach in Djibouti.
Cabo Verde Inside 2009 Alexander Schnoor [Independent] 36 Minutes Germany German & Portuguese (English) Creative Documentary Film A Cabo Verdean who was born and raised in Germany is searching his roots. When he visits Cabo Verde for the first time in his life, he finds men in the streets of Mindelo playing Ouri (video).
Fish for Life (Africa: The Business of Food) 2009 Kristin Sellefyan Dev.TV 3 Minutes Switzerland English Short Documentary Film Malawian children play a 4x8 mancala game with holes dug into the ground (video).
Making of... Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2009 Budiey Isma Metrowealth MIC 15 Minutes Malaysia Malay Advertising / Documentary About the horror film Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak (video).
Quark Park 2009 Chris Allen Chris Allen Films 70 Minutes USA English Creative Documentary Among other artwork it shows how a mancala table was created by scientist George Scherer and sculptor Kate Graves (video excerpt; trailer).
Cape-Verdean Americans (Episode 5 of World in America) 2008 (?) Ebru TV 23 Minutes USA English Documentary Ouril ("Mancala") played by Cape-Verdean immigrants in America (video).
Edge of Islam (Life on the Edge) 2008 Steve Bradshaw BBC World News 22 Minutes UK English Documentary Film Short Bao scene on Lamu Island (video)
Indian Ocean (Oceans #5) 2008 Matthew Dyas BBC Two 60 Minutes UK English Documentary Film Short Bao scene on Zanzibar (snapshot)
The Language of the Universe (The Story of Maths - Episode 1) 2008 Marcus du Sautoy BBC & Open University 58 Minutes UK English Documentary Film Professor du Sautoy claims that the ancient Egyptians might have approximated the mathematical constant π by playing the game of mancala. His theory is, however, flawed because there is no hint that mancala was already known in Ancient Egypt. Contrary to what is said mancala boards were never found carved on the roofs of Egyptian temples.
Beyond Bloomsbury (The Museum - Season 1, Episode 10) 2007 Chris Rushton and Anthony Holland BBC Wales 30 Minutes UK English Documentary Film Irving Finkel visits his touring exhibition in Leicester where the famous Lewis Chessmen are on display next to Ludo, Mancala and Monopoly.
Le Cap-Vert (Carnets de voyage - Season 1, Episode 7) 2007 Philippe Crnogorac ARTE GEIE & GEDEON Programmes 26 Minutes France French Travel Documentary Two men playing Ouri outdoors on the island of Santiago (video).
Twins of Mankala 2006 Jason DaSilva In Face Films 11 Minutes USA English & Kikuyu Creative Documentary Film / Short Film Kid culture and socialization in Kenya and the USA (video).
SheWrite 2005 Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar Indian Documentary Producers Association 55 Minutes India Tamil Creative Documentary Film Filmed poetry - in a scene a mother is playing "Pallanguzhi" with her daughter.
Origine of Cape Verdean Nationality 2003 Ike Eric Nweke Quintal Video 25 Minutes Portugal English & Creole Documentary Film Short Ouril scene (excerpt).
Up in Smoke 2002 Martin Otanez and Christopher Walker Television Trust for the Environment 27 Minutes UK English Documentary Film Short scene of Malawian village children playing mancala on a wooden board (video).
Spiele der Völker - Afrika 2000 (?) (?) (?) Germany German Documentary Film Bao La Kiswahili is shown being played in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; aired on October 22, 2000 by BR-alpha (source 1 and source 2)
Grand Cayman (Origins, Show #116) 1999 Burt Wolf Kentucky Educational Television (KET) (?) USA English Documentary Film Exploring the cultural traditions of Grand Cayman including Waurie.
The Games We Play (Caribbean Eye #11) 1999 Tony Hall, Christopher Laird, Bruce Paddington Banyan Limited 26 minutes Trinidad and Tobago English Documentary Film A Unesco/Banyan Project showing Draughts in Barbados, Dominoes in Dominica, All Fours in Trinidad, and Warri on Antigua.
Océan Atlantique 1998 Pierre-Antoine Muraccioli Warner Home Video 65 Minutes France French (English, German) Travel Documentary Two men playing Ouril in Mindelo, Cabo Verde.
The Swahili Coast (Wonders of the African World - Episode 2) 1998 Nicola Coltan and Nick Godwin BBC / PBS 53 Minutes UK English Documentary Film In Lamu (Kenya), Henry Louis Gates, Jr., plays Bao with his guide Abbas from Shanga.
Kapverdische Inseln (ontour) 1997 Uli Hagmann Helikon Film München / Bayerischer Rundfunk 47 Minutes Germany German Travel Documentary Two men playing Ouri in the streets of a Cabo Verdian town.
Milavalava and Chingelengele 1987 Gerhard Kubik, Lidiya Malamusi, Moya Aliya Malamusi Ethnologisches Museum Berlin 5 Minutes Germany English and Luchazi Documentary Film About childhood activities of the Luchazi in the village of Chikenge (Kabompo District), Zambia; children are playing the mancala game of Milavalava.
Ethiopia 1985 Robin Lehman (?) 28 Minutes USA English Documentary Film Showing a tribal mancala game.
Sur les traces du renard pâle (Recherches en pays Dogon, 1931-1983) 1983 Luc de Heusch Centre de l'audio-visuel à Bruxelles 48 Minutes Belgium French Documentary Film Children playing the game of Ein in holes dug in the ground (video).
Kenya Boran (Part I) 1974 David MacDougall and James Blue Norman Miller 33 Minutes USA English Documentary Film Boran men playing a mancala game on a wooden two-row board (preview).
Baga (Westafrika, Guineaküste) - Mankalla-Spiel 1960 Horst Luz and Waldemar Herz IWF (Göttingen) 11 Minutes Germany Silent Documentary Film Baga children playing Kuoless in Guinea.
Latuko 1952 (filmed in 1950) Edgar Monsanto Queeny American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) 56 Minutes USA English (German, Spanish) Documentary Film Scene with men playing Ekonda in South Sudan.
In den Kakao-Plantagen der Goldküste 1951 (filmed in 1950) Albert Kolb Cadbury Brothers Ltd. (Bournville) 12 Minutes UK Silent Documentary Film Scene with Ashanti workers playing Oware in the cacao plantations of the Gold Coast.
A Mamprusi Village 1944 John Page Ministry of Information 19 Minutes UK English Documentary Film Short scene with children playing a mancala game in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast; the "board" was dug in the ground (video).
Spiel, Orakel und kultischer Tanz aus Nigerien 1942 (filmed in 1937-1938) Paula Melzian Forschungsinstitut für Völkerkunde (Leipzig) 5.5 Minutes Germany Silent Documentary Film Scene with two Yoruba men playing a mancala game.
A Typical Day in the Life of a Kwanyama Family 1937 Diana and Antoinette Powell-Cotton Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park 25.5 Minutes UK Silent Documentary Film Children playing Owela near the town of Ondjiva in Southern Angola. The pits are dug into the ground (excerpt).
Jungen- und Männerspiele 1936 (filmed in 1928-1929) Paul Germann Forschungsinstitut für Völkerkunde (Leipzig) 3.5 Minutes Germany Silent Documentary Film Two boys playing a mancala game in Gbande, Northern Liberia.
Ata Kiwan ("Menschen der Berge") im Solor-Alor- Archipel (Ostindonesien) 1928-1929 Ernst Vatter Ernst Vatter (Frankfurt/Main) 14.5 Minutes Germany Silent Documentary Film Scene with Ata Kiwan women ("People of the Mountains") playing a mancala game in the Solor-Alor Archipelago (East Indonesia).
Ford Educational Weekly No. 6: Tropical Sons 1921 (filmed in 1919) ? Ford Motion Picture Labaratories & Ford Motor Co. ? (1 reel) USA Silent Documentary Film Men playing Worri (excerpt).
Im Deutschen Sudan 1917 (filmed 1913-1914) Hans Schomburgk Hans Schomburgk 65 Minutes Germany Silent Documentary Film Two men playing a mancala game. It is, however, described as "chess", thus revealing the Eurocentric ideology of colonialism.

Educational Films

This category includes films which explain how to make mancala boards and how to play these games.

Title Year Director Distributor Running time Country Languages Genre Description
Samodelnoe Puteshestvie (Самодельное путешествие) (Episode 4) 2012 (?) Zagorod TV 13 Minutes Russia Russian Educational Film A mother shows her two children how to make a mancala board and how to play the game (video).
Ghana (Hands On: Crafts for Kids - Season 13, Episode 11) 2010 (?) KS Inc. Productions 26 Minutes USA English Educational Film Ashanti stool made of craft sticks; wooden jewelry with African symbols; jute basket; a foam version of a mancala game.
Laurence et Adélice (Jeu t'aime) 2011 Vincent Magos & Delphine Cordier Yapaka 1.5 Minutes Belgium French Educational Film The series aired by the Belgian TV channel latrois wants to motivate parents to spend more time with their children (video).
Game Quilt Pattern (Kaye’s Quilting Friends Show K1506) 2008 (?) Kaye Wood Inc. 19 Minutes USA English Educational Film Mattie creates a game quilt that is great for playing checkers, parcheesi, and mancala on. Aired on PBS and several local TV channels in Ohio (film).
Arts And Crafts For Kids From Around The World - Key Stage 1 And 2 - Africa 2007 (?) Quantum Leap 90 Minutes UK English Educational Film How to make a mancala game (source).
Für alle Freunde der Töpferkunst (Hobbythek, Episode 16) 1976 (?) WDR 45 Minutes Germany German Do-it-yourself Show Kalah is made of clay.
Spiele für Erwachsene (Hobbythek, Episode 1) 1974 (?) WDR 45 Minutes Germany German Do-it-yourself Show Pits for playing Kalah are pressed into sand, small pebbles are used to play the game.

Sport Magazines and Reports

This category features films about mancala tournaments.

Title Year Director Distributor Running time Country Languages Genre Description
Alvin Philp (ABS Sports) 2013 (?) ABS TV 0.5 Minutes Antigua and Barbuda English Sports Report About the passing of Alvin Philp. a former President of the "Antigua and Barbuda Warri Association" (video).
Antigua to host World Warri Tournament (ABS Sports) 2013 (?) ABS TV 1 Minute Antigua and Barbuda English Sports Report About the Warri World Tournament that was contested in Antigua from October 28th to November 3rd, 2013 (video).
Toghiz Qumalaq (20 episodes) 2013 (?) KAZsport 5 Minutes each Kazakhstan Kazakh Sport Magazine Introduction into the rules, tactics and strategies of Kazakh national sport Toguz Kumalak (videos: episode 1, episode 2, episode 3, episode 4, episode 5, episode 6, episode 7, episode 8), episode 9, episode 10, episode 11, episode 12, episode 13, episode 14, episode 15, episode 16, episode 17, episode 18, episode 19, and episode 20).
Seaman’s National Ayo Championship 2012 (?) Seaman’s Schnapps / Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (?) Nigeria English Sport Magazine The program is spiced with cultural dances and facts about our culture and tradition (more information).
Kapuso mo, Jessica Soho (Episode of February 24, 2007) 2007 Jessica Soho GMA Channel 7 60 Minutes Philippines Tagalog Report "Sungka Diplomacy" of the Philippine Embassy during the ASEAN Sports Fest in Pretoria, South Africa in May 2006.
The Game of Oware 2003 Oliver Oguntade (?) 20 Minutes Uganda English Report Interviews with members of the Ugandan Omweso team, various Oware champions, and Seth and Glenda of the Oware Society in England.
Sports, Society, and Self 1983 Agency for Instructional Technology Wisconsin Educational Television Network by Positive Image Productions 15 Minutes USA English Documentary Film Awele documentary (Baoule, West Africa).

TV Shows

This category includes game shows, quiz shows, do-it-yourself shows, talk shows, and reality shows.

Title Year Director Distributor Running time Country Languages Genre Description
Virundhinar Pakkam - Eniya (April 28, 2016) 2016 (?) Sun TV 16 Minutes India Tamil Interview Show About Eniyan, founder of Pallanguzhi, an organisation to promote traditional games (video).
El Gran Dictat (July 2, 2014) 2014 Gemma Prat TV3 41 Minutes Spain Catalan Spelling Contest Contestants are asked to spell "Aualé" (i.e. Oware) at 37:02, nobody knows how to do it correctly (video).
Survivor Türkiye - Bölüm 13 (Season 6) 2013 (?) Star TV 125 Minutes Turkey Turkish Reality Television Short scene showing a Mangala board (video).
Survivor Türkiye - Bölüm 12 (Season 6) 2013 (?) Star TV 125 Minutes Turkey Turkish Reality Television Scene showing Mangala (video).
Survivor Türkiye - Bölüm 11 (Season 6) 2013 (?) Star TV 125 Minutes Turkey Turkish Reality Television Scene showing Mangala (video).
Survivor Türkiye - Bölüm 9 (Season 6) 2013 (?) Star TV 111 Minutes Turkey Turkish Reality Television Scene showing Mangala (screenshot, video).
Awalé d'Or 2012 (?) LONACI (Loterie Nationale de Côte d'Ivoire) 15 Minutes Ivory Coast French Public Lottery Drawing Video of first drawing.
Zlatý oříšek 2011 2012 (?) ČT 1 52 Minutes Czech Republic Czech Game Show One candidate was Martin Kutiš who won the 1st place of the European Junior Championships in Toguz Kumalak at Czech Open 2011. The show was aired on January 1 (photo; video).
Big Brother 13 (U.S.) 2011 Allison Grodner & Rich Meehan CBS (USA) / Global (Canada) --- USA English Reality Television Numerous mancala playing scenes.
Big Brother Africa 6 2011 Biola Alabi Endemol --- South Africa English Reality Television On June 6, Weza said she had already packed but Vimbai said she wasn’t done yet as she continued with her mancala game with Wendall.
Gider Ayak (Episode (?) 2010 (?) Kanal B 60 Minutes Turkey Turkish Talk Show Short Mangala scene (video).
Kelime Oyunu (Episode (?)) 2010 (?) Bloomberg (?) Turkey Turkish Quiz Show Question about Mangala (video exerpt).
Pinoy Big Brother (Season 1) 2010 (?) ABS-CBN --- Philippines Tagalog Reality Television Uma Khouny plays Sungka (video).
Hội ngộ bất ngờ since April 4, 2007 (?) HTV & TNHH Kiết Tường 70 Minutes (including commercials) Vietnam Vietnamese Game Show Based on Ô Ăn Quan (photo).
Hola Barcelona (4 de juliol de 2006) 2006 Olga València & Núria Dias Barcelona Televisió 11 Minutes Spain Catalan Scientific Talk Show Víktor Bautista i Roca explains Oware and shows some boards from his collection (video).
Eating and Sleeping with the Enemy (Survivor: Guatemala - Episode 10) 2005 Michael Simon CBS 60 Minutes USA English Reality Television Rafe and Jamie are playing mancala again.
Secret and Lies and an Idol Surprise (Survivor: Guatemala - Episode 9) 2005 Michael Simon CBS 60 Minutes USA English Reality Television Jamie and Rafe are playing a homemade version of mancala in the dirt with rocks.
Planet Wissen: Brettspiele - Spaß seit Jahrtausenden 2004 Christoph Teves and Claudia Kracht WDR/SWR 58 Minutes Germany German Scientific Talk Show A would-be game expert claims that mancala games were played in Egypt in 2000 BC.
Shooting Stars (Season 1, Episode 10) 2004 (?) Mastiff Media 28 Minutes Denmark Danish Comedy Quiz Show Making fun about something, which looks like playing mancala (video excerpt).


This category includes short films that are advertising a product, service or game (including lotteries).

Title Year Distributor Running time Country Languages Description
Awalé d'Or 2012 LONACI (Loterie Nationale de Côte d'Ivoire) 0.5 Minutes Ivory Coast French National Lottery with a golden Awalé board (video).
Wings to the Caribbean 1968 Pan Am 27 Minutes USA English A Pan Am Airways film about travel to the Caribbean. It shows a man and a woman playing Warri on Antigua island (video).

Art Films

This category includes music videos, avantgarde films (also known as "experimental films") and video art.

Title Year Director Distributor Running time Country Languages Genre Description
Am I Wrong 2014 Kavar Singh Warner Bros. 5 Minutes USA English Music Video The music video by the Norwegian rap duo Nico & Vinz Showing shows an unidentified mancala game from Botswana at 1:57 (video).
Adiye 2012 A. R. Rahman Mani Ratnam Film 5 Minutes India Tamil Music Video Mentioning Pallanguzhi (video)
More Than A Game 2012 Jordan Harris Jordan Harris Film 3 Minutes USA English Music Video The band "Brilliant Kids" (ft.Nino Breeze) plays numerous games including mancala (video).
Bao La Kete 2011 Mussah DJ cash Kwetu Studios 6 Minutes Tanzania Swahili Music Video About the virtues of Bao (video).
Flora 2009 Takmi Ikeda Takmi Ikeda 2.5 Minutes Japan Sounds Electro-acoustic Work Second version of Mkomwe, which was inspired by African Mancala (video).
Mkomwe 2008 Takmi Ikeda Takmi Ikeda 3 Minutes Japan Sounds Electro-acoustic Work Inspired by African Mancala (video).
Jesus Christ Goes to Mars 2007 Robert Grant Passive-Aggressive Productions 6 Minutes USA English Satirical Avantgarde Film The narrator tells that "the Roman guards played rounds of mancala amongst themselves" during the crucifixion of Jesus (video).
Mot Songo 2005 (?) (?) 6 Minutes Cameroon Ewondo Music Video The video is about a man playing Songo.
No Seed 2002 Howard and Mitzi Allen HAMA Productions 4 Minutes Antigua and Barbuda English Music Video The music video is performed by "The New Dread and the Baldhead". It shows a game of Warri in progress.
Kalah 1981 Dora Maurer Dora Maurer 10 Minutes Hungary Music and sounds Art Film It was often erroneously stated that the film was created in 1980 (source of the correct year). A frame from this film.

Narrative Films

Also known as "fictional films" these include animations, comedies, dramas, horror movies, soap operas ("pseudo-documentaries"), and romance films.

Title Year Director Distributor Running time Country Languages Genre Description
Kadal 2013 Mani Ratnam Gemini Film Circuit / Thirupathi Brothers 164 Minutes India Tamil Drama A song called "Adi ye" mentions Pallanguzhi ("Pallanguzhi Paatha Puriyala Unna Nambi Vaaraenae" - lyrics).
Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Season 3, Episode 98) 2013 Yağmur Taylan & Durul Taylan Show TV 96 Minutes Turkey Turkish Historical Soap Opera Shows a game of "Mangala" (excerpt).
Myna 2013 Nagashekar Vajreshwari Combines 146 Minutes India Kannada Romantic Drama Mentioning Pallanguzhi in the song "Kichu Kichu Thambulam" (lyrics; video excerpt).
Dede Korkut Hikayeleri (Season 1, Episode 3) 2012 (?) TRT Çocuk 13 Minutes Turkey Turkish Animation Showing Mangala (video).
The Last Fishing Boat 2012 Shemu Joyah First Dawn Arts 110 Minutes Malawi English Drama A constant motif is the Bawo board and the struggle for it between a Malawian fisherman and an English tourist (photo).
Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Season 2, Episode 49) 2012 Yağmur Taylan & Durul Taylan Star TV 90 Minutes Turkey Turkish Historical Soap Opera Shows a game of "Mangala" (photo).
Öldür Beni (Acayip Hikayeler, Episode 6) 2012 Veli Çelik Star TV 37 Minutes Turkey Turkish Drama Shows a Mangala board (photo; video).
Dedemin insanlari 2011 Çagan Irmak Ay Yapim 123 Minutes Turkey English, Greek, Turkish Drama Shows Mangala (video).
Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Season 1, Episode 3) 2011 Yağmur Taylan & Durul Taylan Show TV 90 Minutes Turkey Turkish Historical Soap Opera Shows a game of "Mangala" (more information).
Yudham Sei 2011 Mysskin (?) 150 Minutes India Tamil Crime Thriller Mentions Pallanguzhi in the song "Kannitheevu Ponna" (lyrics).
Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2 2010 Ahmad Idham Metrowealth MIC 90 Minutes Malaysia Malay Horror Film Sequel to Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak (video).
Jangan Pandang Belakang - The Series (Episode 1-26) 2010-2011 (?) Astro Warna 42 Minutes Malaysia Malay Horror Film TV Sequel to Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak (e.g. Episode 6 on Vimeo.
Küçük Hezarfen (Episode 18 - Ata Oyunu 2010 (?) TRT Çocuk 17 Minutes Turkey Turkish Animation About learning Mangala (video).
Long thành cầm giả ca 2010 Đào Bá Sơn Hãng Phim Trẻ (?) Vietnam Vietnamese Historical Drama Ô Ăn Quan is shown in the film, thus expressing the Vietnamese soul.
Ma'ami 2010 Tunde Kelani Mainframe Productions 78 Minutes Nigeria English Drama Old men playing Ayo in Ma'ami's compound (screen shot).
Mawa Langa 2010 Colin Stevens 51 Minutes UK English Humanitarian Drama Two men playing Bawo (video).
Octane Pistols of Fury 2010 Chris Prine & Greg Stees Escape Pod Films & Jet Lag Productions 15 Minutes USA English Crime-Comedy / Short Film Short mancala scene saying that mancala is more serious than poker (view online)).
Soul Boy 2010 Hawa Essuman X Verleih AG 61 Minutes Germany & Kenya Swahili (Dutch, German) Drama Three short mancala scenes in Kibera, Kenya (the largest African slum) played on a two-row board with approximately 10 holes per row.
The Liberian Candidate (Unnatural History - Season 1, Episode 7) 2010 Paul Shapiro Warner Horizon Television / Cartoon Network 45 Minutes USA English Comedy-Drama Henry and Tolo play mancala before they go to sleep.
Bayam Ariyaan 2009 Prateesh Jayamathi Pictures (?) India Tamil Drama The movie mainly deals with mother's love and the changes that absolute love brings in a man. It features the song Pallanguzhi Kannam ("Pallanguzhi Friend") (song; trailer).
Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2009 Ahmad Idham Metrowealth MIC 90 Minutes Malaysia Malay Horror Film Sequel to Congkak.
Türk Zeka ve Strateji Oyunu (Gümüş Hilal - Episode of November 19) 2009 (?) TRT Türk 3 Minutes Turkey Turkish Documentary Explaining Mangala (video).
Congkak 2008 Ahmad Idham Metrowealth MIC 90 Minutes Malaysia Malay Horror Film A traditional game turns into a haunted subject.
Muniyandi Vilangiyal Moondramandu 2008 Thirumurugan Duraisingam Pillai, Karunamurthy K (?) India Tamil Romance The song "Kodaangi vanthirukken" mentions Pallanguzhi (excerpt with the song).
Poova Thalaiya 2008 Sanjay Ram Balu Poththam (?) India Tamil Romance The song "Maip poosum kannazhagi" mentions Pallanguzhi (lyrics).
Madurai Veeran 2007 R. K. Vincent Selva Supergood Films 155 Minutes India Tamil Romance The song "Nyokka Makka" mentions Pallanguzhi (listen online).
Pirappu 2007 L. V. Ilangovan SRM 145 Minutes India Tamil Drama The song "Ulaga Azhagi Naan Dhaan" mentions Pallanguzhi (video excerpt with the song).
Azhagaai Irukkiraai Bayamaai Irukkiradhu 2006 Vijay Milton (?) (?) India Tamil Romance The song "Oram Po Naina" (Odi Aadinaen) mentions Pallanguzhi (review).
Dave (Lost) 2006 Jeffrey Jacob Abrams Buena Vista Television 46 Minutes USA English Mystery While residing at Santa Rosa, Libby is seen seated at a table with a Mancala set in front of her.
Kalvanin Kaadhali 2006 Thamilvaanan Dream Makers UK5 (?) India Tamil, Telugu Romance Song mentioning Pallanguzhi (song and lyrics).
The Friendship Club (Strawberry Shortcake - Season 3, Episode 1) 2006 Karen Hayden DIC Entertainment Corporation 21 Minutes USA English (German) Animation Film Mancala mentioned in the Friendship Song (video).
The Game Board 2006 Kate Matthews Kate Matthews 5 Minutes Australia English Animation Film / Short Film After an old Ethiopian folk tale, which centres around the traditional Ethiopian mancala game called Gebeta (excerpt).
Awale Kings 2005 Tim Hull Tim Hull 8 Minutes UK English Short Film Children of Kela village recreate the history of how two kings played Awale at a pivotal moment in the foundation of the Great Malian Empire (script).
Tuli 2005 Auraeus Solito Viva Films 113 Minutes Philippines Tagalog Drama Lesbian love story showing a young working girl selling kakanin and monay around the barrio, playing Sungka as a past-time, and bathing in a refreshing batis.
I Heart Huckabees 2004 David O. Russell Fox Searchlight 106 Minutes USA English (French, German, Italian, Spanish) Philosophical Comedy Film Interesting mancala scene.
Massaï, les Guerriers de la Pluie 2004 Pascal Plisson Mars Distribution 94 Minutes France Masai (French, Spanish) Drama There is a short scene towards the end with two Masai children playing mancala in the background. The board is dug in the ground and the player on the left is sowing counterclockwise.
Chokka Thangam 2003 K. Bhagyaraj G. V. Films Limited 180 Minutes India Tamil Romance Pallanguzhi mentioned in the song "Ettu Jilla Paththu" (review of the movie).
Old School 2003 Todd Phillips Columbia Pictures / DreamWorks SKG 92 Minutes USA English Comedy Film Mancala scene at the Olive Garden (video excerpt).
No Seed 2002 Howard and Mitzi Allen HAMA Productions 90 Minutes Antigua and Barbuda English Crime Thriller Dramatic thriller which parallels a Warri game.
Anandham 2001 Sreenu Vaitla Mayuri 165 Minutes India Telugu Romance The song "Pallangkuzhiyin" features Pallanguzhi.
Pengal 2001 Raj Marudhu K. Srinath (?) India Tamil Romance The song ("Kannukkula Pallaanguzhi" features Pallanguzhi (video).
Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 2000 Roger Christian Warner Bros. Pictures 118 Minutes USA English (French, German, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish) Science Fiction Film Children playing mancala inside a cave.
Ennavalle 2000 J. Suresh Sri Sai Deva Productions (?) India Tamil Romance Pallanguzhi mentioned in the song "Chinna Chinna Sugangal".
Xinca (BeastMaster - Season 2, Episode 5) 2000 Sylvio Tabet Coote/Hayes Productions 45 Minutes Canada English Fantasy Voden and a girl are playing mancala (video).
Faat Kiné 1999 Sembene Ousmane New Yorker Films 121 Minutes Senegal French & Wolof Comedy / Drama An extended scene between Maamy and the grandchildren played over a game of mancala.
Incognito 1999 Julie Dash BET Pictures 95 Minutes USA English Thriller In a scene of this African-American thriller Erin plays mancala, which -- together with the African art visible in her office -- symbolizes that her entire world is about African American experience and culture.
Deadly Games (Diagnosis Murder #89) 1997 Christopher Hibler CBS Television 60 Minutes USA English Mystery/Medical/Crime Drama Television Series First a very bad Weiqi scene, obviously made by someone who never played the game; eventually a mancala game is produced and played.
V.I.P 1997 Sabapathy Dekshinamurthy Ayngaran International / Kalaippuli International 149 Minutes India Tamil Romance Pallanguzhi mentioned in the song "Mayilu Mayilu Mayilamma ".
Chinna Vathiyar 1995 Singeetam Srinivasa Rao Swathi Chitra International 132 Minutes India Tamil Science-fiction Comedy Pallanguzhi is mentioned in the song "Kanmaniyae Kanmaniya" (video).
Le Maître d'Awale 1995 (?) Jacques Milla (?) (?) Ivory Coast French Drama Awalé contest in a village in Benin between Jean-Bosco, the local champion, and a stranger who had beaten the master's bodyguards.
Daughters of the Dust 1991 Julie Dash Kino International 112 Minutes USA English Drama Men living on small islands off the coast of South Carolina play Warri (source).
Visage de Femmes 1985 Désiré Ecaré (?) 90 Minutes Ivory Coast French Creative Documentary Film Awalé playing scene in the Ivory Coast.
Pallamkuzhi 1983 N. M. Sreedharan Vishnu Films 119 Minutes India Malayalam Drama (video).
Natchathiram 1980 Dasari Narayan (?) (?) India Tamil Drama The song "Ponnanganni Poothu" mentions Pallanguzhi (song).
Startrek: And The Children Shall Lead 1968 Marvin J. Chomsky Paramount Pictures 51 Minutes USA English (German) Science Fiction Film Showing a Kalah board in "stardate 5029.5" (i.e. 2268); photo.
Juan Tamad Goes to Congress 1959 Manuel Conde (?) (?) Philippines English, Tagalog Satirical Movie Sultan Maputim is depicted as being fond of Sungka, then President Garcia's favorite pastime.
Pilipino Kostum - No Touch! 1955 Manuel Conde LVN Pictures (?) Philippines Tagalog Satirical Romance Arturo bribes Adeling's father and brothers with liquor and they happily allow him to stock firewood and play sungka with Adding.
Fliehende Schatten 1932 (filmed in 1930-1931) Carl Junghans and Arnold Fanck Flugfilm Syndikat (Only 83 minutes still exist, which amounts to about half of the original film.) Germany German Adventure Film Made by one of the leading Nazi film directors and featuring Ernst Udet, one of the most famous German aviation heroes, the surviving fragment shows Masai children who play mancala.
Nionga 1925 (?) Stoll Film Company 70 Minutes UK Silent Drama Scene in which a two-row mancala game is played on a wooden board (video).

Missing Scenes

Mancala is mentioned in some film scripts, but not shown in the actual movie. Sometimes the game also appeared in shots that were not included in the film.

Hello Africa

Hello Africa (2009) is a documentary that illustrates cellphone culture in Africa. Although a game of Bao had been filmed ("We have great material of them chatting, dancing to mobile tunes, discussing telecom operators, fooling around, and enjoying a traditional game of Bao." (source)), the shots weren't included in the documentary.

Machine Gun Preacher

Machine Gun Preacher (2011) is an action biopic about Sam Childers, a former gang biker turned preacher and defender of African orphans. According to the script, the film should contain a mancala scene:

A few of the SPLA soldiers sitting next to their weapons in the dark, smoking,tossing beads into a carved wooden trough, playing the ancient game of Mancala -- SOLDIER #2 (Arabic) That was a mistake... SOLDIER #3 (Arabic) Where? SOLDIER #2 (Arabic) Right here... your third “house” is open... 51 DENG (CONT'D) Soldier #3 reacting to his mistake as --

However, the actual film scene doesn't show mancala, just men sitting around in the dark.

Uganda Wins Independence

Uganda Wins Independence (1962) is a documentary about Uganda's independence celebations. One scene not included in the newsreel story shows two men playing Omweso.


Watson Kintner Collection

The Watson Kintner Collection of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology is a collection of travel films, which contains several shots of mancala boards:

  • Maasai playing a game on board with hollows; in: "East Africa (1952)" - Reel 8
  • a Kenyan game played with holes in ground; in: "East Africa" (1961) - Reel 13
  • a game of the Samburu using a wooden "frame"; in: "East Africa" (1961) - Reel 17
  • indentations on base of stela at Aksum thought to be an ancient mancala game board; in: "Ethiopia" (1969) - Reel 14

External Links


Basalla, B.
Chess in the Movies. Thinkers' Press, Davenport IA (USA) 2005.
Möller, O.
Der Blick: Anmerkungen zur Filmreihe "Erster Kontakt - Erster Blick". In: Film-Dienst 1993; 46 (15): 14-15.
Tiongson, N.
The Cinema of Manuel Conde. University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Manila (Philippines) 2008.


© Wikimanqala.
By: Ralf Gering
Under the CC by-sa 2.5 license.