Massai Enkeshui or Engesho Game. Ex Seward Kennedy Collection

  • Tribe: Massai
  • Origin: Kenya
  • Approx Age: Mid 20th Century
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions cm: 70 long x 17 wide
  • Ref. Number: 0912

A stunning Massai mancala / Oware game used by the Massai people of Kenya as a form of entertainment. The Massai call this game “Enkeshui” or “Engesho”. It is a rather complex mancala game, and bears some similarities to the Layli Goobalay mancala played in Somali land.

PROVENANCE: Ex Seward Kennedy Collection.

Massai Mancala Game

Mancala games/boards differ from region to region in style of the board and construction ie: some Mancala have legs and feet, ornate bases and the number of hollows may vary. This Massai Mancala displays a set of 24 hollows and presents in quite a basic form showing good signs of constant use. This was acquired from an old UK collection, a beautiful, old and authentic piece of every day used Kenyan art.

Massai Mancala

Mancala is a generic name for a family of 2-player turn-based strategy board games played with small stones or seeds and rows of holes or pits in the earth, a board or other playing surface. The objective is usually to capture all or some set of the opponent’s stones. Versions of the game have been played for at least hundreds of years around the world.


The name is a classification or type of game, rather than any specific game. Some of the most popular mancala games (with regard to distribution area, the numbers of players and tournaments. Although more than 800 names of traditional mancala games are known, some names denote the same game, while some names are used for more than one game. Almost 200 modern invented versions have also been described.

Rules of this game can be found here: