Game of chance

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Chance encounters can lead to puzzling consequences. For example, there was the time when I ran a singing workshop based on sharing African songs. Perhaps because of the location of the event, it attracted a wide variety of folks with a diverse range of interests. One friend of mine (who is now of blessed memory) lived around the corner from the venue, so he turned up to support me and participate in the event. Another acquaintance came with different motives – he was aiming to build his repertoire of songs that could be used in his education work.

These two individuals met each other at my workshop. My friend was highly experienced at running workshops himself – in fact, he was a pioneering facilitator of African theatre in education in London, so it was understandable that he and the acquaintance from elsewhere would have shared interests.

One thing led to another and even though I wasn’t involved in the sequence of events that followed, I was still held to account for them. I can only speculate that my friend (who was a generous spirit) invited the acquaintance to visit his family home, around the corner from the venue where the workshop took place.

The acquaintance must have seen an attractive board game in my friend’s apartment – this game is known to Yorubas as “Ayo”. I have also heard it described as “Owari” by other Africans. Apparently he asked if he could borrow the set and my friend agreed to lend it to him.

After that, my dear friend contacted me on several occasions, asking me to get in touch with the acquaintance, who had somehow forgotten to return the set to him. The acquaintance had left the country and said nothing about the whereabouts of this board game, which belonged to my friend’s wife. The set’s disappearance had become a flash point in an ongoing marital dispute. I was asked to put pressure on the acquaintance to return something he borrowed. I’m not sure if the matter was ever resolved.