“Ajasa” meaning rhyme is a word game which originated from the Yoruba tribe, a major ethnic group in western Nigeria.

History has it that “Ajasa” was formally a way of exchanging greetings before it was converted into a game in the mid 90s.

For example, if you are a farmer and you are to exchange greetings with a friend of yours who is a hunter, here is an illustration of how the greeting would sound like: “The greatest hunter of our time I greet you”… and your friend would reply: “The hands that own the barn I beseech you”…

You would notice that both statements, the words ending them rhyme with each other. This is how the game originated. It is sort of a spoken poetry, which I personally like to call “poetry in motion”.

I love to play the game especially with my grand ma who is an epitome of oral language, history and spoken rhymes.

I have benefited a lot from the game and it is key to my rhyme scheme as a young African poet and it has also helped in developing my vocabulary as well as my creativity and dexterity in the use of figurative speech as we sometimes delve into sentence rhyme context.

The groove of the game is the fact that it sort of creates a poetic atmosphere and some kind of musical symphony as the game progresses.

The total time frame for the context varies between 30 to 60 minutes per context.

How the Game Is Played

It is usually head to head context between two players. The first player would say a word thereby challenging the second player to reply with a word that rhymes with what he/she had said.

A time frame is set usually within ten seconds with which the player most answer with a word that rhymes with the word of the first player.

After the second player had answered the challenge of the first player, it would be his turn to challenge the first player with a word which the first player would reply with a rhyme.

You gain a point once you reply a word with a rhyme and loose a point if you are not able to do so. Then the challenger would reply his own word with another word which rhymes with it and by doing so gains a point.

Note: the challenger is the one who says the first word. While the challenged is the one who replies with a rhyme. No dictionary or consultation from any other book is allowed.

A referee is appointed to calculate the points which he records on a score board. The player with the highest points wins the context. Here are two examples of an “Ajasa” contest:

Player 1 – pink
Player 2 –link – (+1 point)
Player 2 – joke
Player 1 – poke – (+1 point)

Score board reads (player 1 = 1 point, player 2 = 1 point)


Player 1 – sorrow
Player 2 – no reply within ten seconds (-1 point) Player 1- follow

Score board reads (player 1 = 1 point, player 2 = 0 point)

The “Ajasa” can also be played as a championship tournament or as a group or team game i.e. player 1 becomes team 1 and player 2 becomes team 2. Groups or teams are usually made up of at least two players and at most seven players.

However, “Ajasa” is reputed to be a head to head context between two individuals.

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