In Angola, the roadside peddlers who brandish trays or bowls of goods on top their heads are known as zungueira and a new game depicting their struggle has been released. It is called the Zungueira Run.
Zungueira in Angola are mostly women and they have been a constant presence in the country since independence in 1975. They used the trays to eke out a living during the civil war and subsequently in the oil boom that followed when peace descended. Today, the zungueira women abound on account of unemployment.
Angolan authorities are, however, not quite as understanding of the need to make a living that drives them to the street. For this reason, the authorities often attempt to stop the women’s peddling. They fine the zungueira women as high as 45,000 kwanza (nearly $270), which is roughly equivalent to two months’ profit.
The women describe these fines by the authorities as ‘tax runs’ and in trying to escape the tax run, they often lose their wares or run away and abandon them. The crackdown on the women is even about to become more intensive as authorities have warned that the woman may face up to three months in prison.
Here is where the zungueira run game is, especially, reflective of the lives of these women. Drawing on the daily reality of the zungueira women, zungueira run is an endless runner game, similar to the popular Subway Surfers and Temple Run.
The players run through an Angolan city playing a zungueira vendor known as Mana Augustina. Mana has a bowl or tray on her head as she races and weaves through the city collecting kwanza coins, all the while being chased by a taxman. If Mana’s fingers slip up, the taxman collects her basket of goods.
Mana also encounters customers whose purchase of goods like ginger presents players with a quick math problem that must be solved for bonus points. Zungueira Run was created by Bantu Games, a tech startup run by a group of young Angolan developers.
With the game, they made it to the semifinals of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup developers’ competition. The app is available for free download on the Google Play store.