I Pray My Son Never Falls Victim To Mind Games

I Pray My Son Never Falls Victim To Mind Games

Mind games, Malawi has a lot of those. Growing up, children would fall victim to so many mind games by their families, friends, etc. Often, these were used to instill some behaviors in us, and a lot of times, they worked. Recently, a friend shared how they victimized his brother to one of the most brutal mind games there is when they visited their village. Instantly I started hoping that my own child never falls victim to it.

We are in the last week of the Afrobloggers #WinterABC festival where we will be talking about Stories of Innovation. One of the prompts by Qweshunga is to write about Unforgettable Mind Games. I thought it is important to share about one of Malawi’s legendary mind game called Kayimayima which would directly translate as “Always Standing”.

Let me also thank my mom for telling me about this game before anyone would use it on me. It allowed me to never fall victim to it ever. That does not mean that I never played it on other people, especially when I was in boarding school. Now, let me share with you what the game is all about.

Of Intriguing Mind Games: Kayimayima

First of all, if you are Malawian and have never been baited to this game, thank your ancestors. Depending on the location, and those that are affiliated to be partners of the game, you might play it for the whole day. It is more like hide and seek, only that you have no idea what you are seeking.

Kayimayima is mostly initiated by older people, and it has a lesson at the end of the game. It also allows elders to scold parents if they are not teaching children good behavior. Most of the time, victims of this game are those from the urban areas. Not often do you hear that kids that have grown in the rural areas have fallen prey to it.

Mind Games: How is Kayimayima played

Like I said, it is more like hide and seek. The twist is, nobody is hiding, they are just hiding information from the seeker. Let me break this down.

Let’s say that you are around other people. Everybody there is seated and you are the only one standing. One person can ask you kindly to go to another door and request to have ‘kayimayima’. You are asked to be quick with the errand, and off you go. Here comes the twist.

It is important that the person you are sent to fears God, because if they do not, then you could encounter a hard time. If they fear Jesus, they will quickly advise you to go back home and sit down. In case they do not fear God, they will direct you to another house to look for it there instead.

Like I said, this could take children ages before they even figured out that what they are seeking is not there. Sometimes, children will go in rounds until they are tired. They decide to go back home and get told that all they had to do is sit down.

Lessons it has

The biggest lesson of kayimayima is that no child should be standing while in the presence of the elderly. Especially, if the adults are all sitting down. It is deemed disrespectful in our culture. Having a child look for kayimayima was to teach them this valuable lesson, which might not be taught by parents.

Sometimes, when asked to go to other houses, the elders there would sit a child down and tell them the reason they were sent. However there are others who enjoyed seeing the child work for it.

In boarding school, this was often done to kids in form 1 by the seniors. You had kids walking from one dorm room to the other, then to the classes, kitchen, or playing grounds looking for kayimayima.

I can also say that I have done this to one of my colleagues who is hardly found on his desk. He walked around the whole office before we all started laughing at him.

I just hope and pray that I am able to raise a well-behaved king who does not have to fall victim to these kind of mind games.

Share with me some of the mind games you know in the comment section below.

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2 Comments

  1. Omg we totally have something exactly like this, the only difference is the name of what your asked to go and get or look for; it was called musipiti
    and while some would explain that you were being sent on a fools around for standing around where adults were busy… adulting, a few would explain to you the folly of your way otherwise you could spend the whole day going from door to door to door

    ~B

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