"Foreign dancers with drums in Fumban."
Wuhrmann, Anna (Ms)
date early : 1913-01-01.0., date late : 1913-12-31.0.

"Foreign dancers with masks, in Fumban."
Wuhrmann, Anna (Ms)
date early : 1913-01-01.0., date late : 1913-12-31.0.

"Palm Wine and masked dancers at the Sowing Festival."
Wuhrmann, Anna (Ms)
date early : 1915-03-01.0., date late : 1915-03-31.0.

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Leisure Activities in West Africa and Asia

Leisure was an important part of African life, providing recreation and entertainment. In West Africa sitting around palm wine in conversation was a favourite pastime for adult men. Visiting relatives and friends and telling stories on moonlit nights were important activities in village life. In towns, becoming a member of welfare, hometown and other associations provided new social networks in the more impersonal towns. Music, dance, drama, and games were important forms of leisure in both Africa and Asia. Foreign dancers in Bamum are seen in E-30.29.075, while the dancers in E-30.29.077 are shown in masks. Masked societies were a feature of face-to-face societies in Africa, and they were associated with the making of political and judicial decisions. Kings in very centralized polities showed an aversion to masked societies. Musicians and dancers in India are seen in C-30.62.041 and C-30.62.047, and the church choir was an important addition to social life and recreation. Western associations such as temperance societies and Masonic lodges were introduced to towns, and the presence of European and African members in West Africa provided an opportunity for interaction outside the formal colonial setting (D-30.17.021 and D-30.63.002). Board games were popular in West Africa (for example, oware among the Akan) and China (A-30.12.063). Both colonial governments and European missionaries were aware of the enormous importance of leisure and sought to influence leisure patterns as part of the colonial encounter. Purposive leisure, in the European opinion, should instil team spirit and a respect for rules, as in western sports. Football, cricket, rugby, boxing and other western sports were introduced into colonial Africa and Asia (C-30.55.012 and C-30.55.013). Gymnastics was also important for physical development, and physical education was part of the curriculum in mission and colonial schools (D-30.03.48).
In colonial Accra, an important sport called asafo atwele (group fighting) had emerged among the Ga by the early twentieth century. It was a martial sport that was practiced at the beach and involved the exchange of kicks and blows. The Basel Mission photo from 1917 (D-30.01.015) provides one of the earliest archival records of this indigenous sport, which was later supplanted by boxing.