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Board Game Teaches African Heritage

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Paulette Mpouma, the creator of The Africa Memory game, plays the learning game to teach her children about African history and geography. In the three years since she first thought of the game, she has sold nearly 4,000 games.
Emily Friedman
Paulette Mpouma, the creator of The Africa Memory game, plays the learning game to teach her children about African history and geography. In the three years since she first thought of the game, she has sold nearly 4,000 games.

What is the capital of Nigeria?

That's one of the questions from the Africa Memory Game--a game Laurel resident Paulette Mpouma created for her four kids three years ago when she realized they knew practically nothing about Africa.

If you said to yourself 'Abuja,' you are correct. If you said the name of another Nigerian city (Lagos?), or perhaps, drew a blank, you now understand why this game came into being.

With school curricula packed to the brim, Mpouma realized if she wanted her children to know about their heritage, she'd have to do something about it herself. Her solution was to create The Africa Memory Game.

"When I look at the research [about what Americans know about Africa], they found out that people were not teaching about Africa because it's too big to learn," says Mpouma. "It's takes too long."

Mpouma has lived in the United States since the mid-90s, when she emigrated from Cameroon. She developed the game after many rounds of hand-drawn trivia cards and makeshift pawns. Her children were her test audience, and the game has proven a hit, not only in their home, but also all around the world. Mpouma has sold nearly 4,000 games to clients including the Smithsonian, The World Bank, and many schools and museums around the world.


[Music: "On the Road Again" by Canned Heat from Let's Work Together: The Best Of]

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