West Africa Treasures at Mower’s Flea Market, Woodstock, NY

West Africa Treasures inaugural appearance at Mower’s Flea Market, Woodstock NY October 25th, 2020. 

Although it was little chilly, the market was well attended and a good time was had by all. Some of the popular items included our Kente clothe backpacks, the djembe drums, the Mancala games and gemstone jewelry. 

Woodstock, which became world famous for its music festival, is home to many artists and crafts people. In the summer on Sunday afternoons, on the village green in the center of town, an African drum circle plays, attracting musicians and dancers from around the area. Over the years, many celebrities have chosen the Woodstock area for second homes and often can be spied at the restaurants and cafes. Window shopping and people watching are common activities throughout the year. 

We were happily surprised to see how many people were familiar with the Mancala game. Evidence of Mancala games have been found by archaeologists in Aksumite Ethiopia in Matara (now in Eritrea) and Yeha (in Ethiopia), dating back to between CE 500 and 700. The word mancala is derived from the Arabic word naqala, which means “to move.” In North Africa and the Mideast, the word mancala refers to a class of game rather than any particular game. You will see references to the game going back thousands of years. 

Our Mancala games are handmade in Togo, West Africa with both Teak and Ebony woods, and utilize the seeds of the Caesalpinia flower as individual pieces.

Weather permitting, we will be back at the Mower’s Flea Market in Woodstock Saturday and Sunday November 7th and 8th.

Hotalou Justine Goldberg

October 31st, 2020

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