Child Soldiers in Angola

November 25, 2007

Just picked up a new book today, Child Soldiers in Africa by Alcinda Honwana, on the involvement of male and female children in the civil wars of Angola and Mozambique. While this material is really upsetting and I wasn’t originally going to include it in updates to Mwaantaangaand (the Angola civil war is disturbing enough), I feel like it’s important stuff that people should know about. Also, after playing in Emily’s A Day in the War at JiffyCon, I feel like war roleplaying games (like the best war movies) are a great opportunity to educate people about conflicts and terrible circumstances in a way that is still… for lack of a better word… fun. Fun in the same way that watching Saving Private Ryan or Letters from Iwo Jima is fun. And, as Gregor Hutton pointed out, “We need more games about, and set in, Africa,” because few people in the West know anything substantial about it. Roleplaying games can be a teaching tool through their setting content as well as through encouraging problem solving and experimenting with social interaction.

2 Responses to “Child Soldiers in Angola”

  1. Jason M Says:

    “I feel like war roleplaying games (like the best war movies) are a great opportunity to educate people about conflicts and terrible circumstances in a way that is still… for lack of a better word… fun.”

    I feel a little guilty calling the experience of harrowing play fun, but you’re right, that’s what it is. It just isn’t light saber style fun.


  2. Yup. I mean, there are clearly some experiences that are valuable without being fun. But I think there’s more fun in harrowing experiences than most people like to admit.


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