Fafi, or more commonly known in the townships as Mo-china, is one of the most popular forms of gambling in South African townships, especially Gauteng. Fafi or Mo-china is a form of mobile lottery where punters bet on which number will be drawn by selecting a number between 1 and 36. Although township people bet small amounts, the potential winning is great as each number is paid at odds of 28/1.
Corner/spaza shop owners play the role of a bookie, also known as the runner, they usually take bets three times a day, morning, afternoon and in the evening. Once all bets have been taken by the runner, the draw is done inside a luxury car with tinted windows that can be spotted cruising around the townships, the driver of the car is known as Mo-china.
The store owner or runner, is employed to collect all bets and distribute the winnings. The runner collects bets on a board numbered from 1 to 36. To prevent any manipulation from the runner, Mo-china holds up the number drawn so the punters can see what is the winning number.
Six numbers are usually blocked and no bets can be placed on these numbers, these are numbers which have been drawn in the previous three rounds.
Where does Fafi come from?
The exact origins of this lottery-style game is unknown, however this game has many ties to the Chinese community in South Africa.
How do players choose their numbers?
Players don’t always choose numbers randomly, there’s usually a good reason why a punter will bet on a specific number, and that reason, most of the time, is a dream. Numbers 1-5 carry a specific meaning, as shown below:
1 – King, human blood, white man, left eye
2 – monkey, native, a spirit, chief, copper, money, jockey
3 – sea water, accident, frog, sailor, sex
4 – dead man, turkey, small fortune, bed
5 – tiger, fight, strong man
Amongst the black culture, and probably many other cultures around the world, dreams carry meaning and significance in the real world. Their interpretation and meaning is taken seriously, hence why punters wont dismiss dreams as just that, but rather take it communication from the other side.
How is the winning number drawn?
Many punters have confirmed that they do not know how the draw is done or how the winning number is selected. Many have speculated that Mo-china himself determines what the winning number is with full knowledge of what bets have been placed.
Many punters seem to not have a problem with this as they feel this is a fair way of determining the winning number.
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