Mancala World

Mulabalaba → Italian.

First Description: J. H.
Chaplin, 1956
Cycles: Two
Ranks: Four
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Zambia

Mulabalaba is a mancala game played by the Lozi and Toka in Zambia. The only difference between the Lozi and the Toka game is that the Toka play on larger boards. The game was first described by J. H. Chaplin in his article A Note on Mancala Games in Northern Rhodesia in 1956.

The Lozi are a semi-autonomous people of about 500,000 who live in Barotseland (Western Zambia), the Caprivi Strip (Namibia) and Botswana. The Toka people are indigenous to the area surrounding Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Mulabalaba can be considered a variant of Hawalis.

There are only a few differences:

  • The Lozi play Mulabalaba on a board of 4 x 6 or 4 x 8 holes, while the Toka use a board with 4 x 12 or 4 x 16 holes.
  • The holes are initially filled with two or three seeds per hole.
  • When a player has only singletons left, he must if possible sow a single seed into an adjacent hole that is occupied.


Initial Set-up of Mulabalaba (Toka)

External Links


Chaplin, J. H.
A Note on Mancala Games in Northern Rhodesia. In: Man: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 1956; 56 (12): 168-170.
Russ, L.
The Complete Mancala Games Book: How to Play the World's Oldest Board Games. Marlowe & Company, New York NY (USA) 2000, 101-102.


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