THE FATHER OF GENDABALL FROM WARM HEART OF AFRICA
By Desire C. Mussa, Mzuzu University, Malawi
The Green Campus was quite on 22 April, 2018. I never knew what the day would be like on that Sunday morning. The day was different from the previous Sundays I have been experiencing at Mzuzu University. I was amazed to saw a new invented game known as Gendaball. The Green Intellectuals that were present at the scene were excited. Out from nowhere, I got myself amidst the innovated sport. It was amazing to see Francis Mwalabu, the Gendaball innovator moving majestically at the sport field. He is a Malawian diplomat working at the Malawi Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I had a chance of interviewing the Gendaball father, Mwalabu. He said, “It has always been my passion to come up with a sport which will be identified as Malawian game. I develop this game in 2013.”
The day was clear on that day. There was no sign of rainfall. However, the game was invented to be played outdoors or indoors. Therefore, there was assurance that weather would not hinder the Gendaball introduction event at Mzuzu University. The Malawian father of this sport grouped us into six teams. Every green intellectual who was on spot was interested to learn more about the newly Malawian invented game. The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Television crew came on that day to witness the introduction Gendaball at the Green campus.
Francis Mwalabu, the father of Gendaball said, “Before we begin the match, I would like to let you know what the Gendaball is about. I invented this game on 18 March, 2013. I had to think about innovating a sport that would be friendly to all people regardless of disabilities. Furthermore, Gendaball can be played by people of all ages, both male and females. The game was made to be played by both an individual and teams. Gendaball derives its name from two words:- the Chichewa (Malawian vernacular) word “genda” which means throw and the English word “ball”. This is a target-shooting game in which players use one hand to actuate a ball onto a Targetboard which has 16 holes of different sizes and point-values marked against each hole. The ball is thrown from a court that has 10 shooting stations spread across four distance levels from the Targetboard. Each distance level has its own points-value. Players accumulate points by multiplying the value of the target-hole into which a ball has been sank by the distance level from which a shot has been taken.’’
The game began instantly soon after hearing the rules and instructions about Gendaball. Every team had to play three rounds before the winning team could be identified. The team’s scores were announced at each round. It happened that I was a Gendaball player for Sangonja Gendaball Team (SGT) on that day. You could see the Supporters cheering happily. The team players were also excited as if they have trained Gendaball for a long time. However, you could see that scoring was not easy. It was just like other famous games where supporters see simplicity in playing the game but when given chance to play you could see that it is easy in appearance and tough in action.
Gendaball is psychotherapy game which could solve emotional problems. The way I experienced the sport shows me that Gendaball is one technic of boosting excitement and joy. The referee ended the game after completing all three rounds. He announced the team which had won the match. It was Sangonja Gendaball Team which had more scores than the least five teams. The Green Intellectuals we very happy to welcome an amazing sport invented by a Malawian in 21st Century. You could have seen hunger of Gendaball from the Mzuzu University students’ community. They were expecting to be playing this great sport during Vice Chancellor’s Trophy at the Green Campus. Francis Mwalabu, the Gendaball inventor promised to bring the sport permanently at the campus.
I had a chance of interviewing Francis Mwalabu on his expectation from Gendaball. He said, “Gendaball is a multi-million dollar project, aimed at creating value and wealth to its various stakeholders and is set to create thousands of jobs for youths in Africa and for many across the globe. The sport is expected to create value chains in manufacturing, marketing and advertising, TV Broadcasting Licencing, Sports tourism, Product endorsement and many other industries which will emerge out of it. The sport is currently undergoing trials in Malawi and Ethiopia. Gendaball has been officially adopted by the ministry of sports in Malawi and a national launch is planned to take place in Malawi later this year. As part of promoting this exciting Malawian sport, whose vision is global. I have applied to take Gendaball sport as an activity at this year’s Lake of Stars event. Furthermore, the patent of Gendaball invention has been done in Malawi. The application has also been filed for an international patent. If well-supported, Gendaball has the potential to become a future Olympic discipline. ‘’