Revisiting the past via Ombaanhu kingship

By Shivute Kaapanda [Think-Tank Africa]

The microscope of legitimacy faces the Ombaanhu community now and then due to the lack of proper information about Ombaanhu Kingship.

Following is the sequence of Ombaanhu kings as oral history can recall from the recent generations. It’s said that Amushila waNehau lyaKalimba led Aambaanhu from the great lakes of Kenya. He was not a king nor was he from a particular clan.

With the information of clans, the Aakwanghwiyo/Aakwanambwa clan of Ombaanhu became the royal clan at that time, originating from the Nghumbi royal clan. Kamhaku ka-Huhwa was recorded by oral history to be the first king of Ombaanhu kingdom followed by Avula ya-Epohe who was followed by Amuhelo wa-Kalipi, followed by Ishitile ya-Ukahona who was followed by Eita ya-Aitewa, followed by Eelu ya-Elaa who was then followed by Avula ya-Alweendo; all these kings were said to belong to Aakwanghwiyo clan.

They used to live at ‘Ombala’ (palace) designated for Ombaanhu kingship in Ohamwaala village.

History has it that due to the cruelty of king Kamhaku during his reign aroung 17th century he was as a result burned to death by some of his rebellious servants of Ombaanhu led by an executor (Ainyaela) around the year 1836.

Thus Kamhaku ka-Huhwa is known to be the founding king of the kingdom of Ombaanhu.

Estimated years of 1913-1914 is when King Avula yaAlweendo was the ruler of Ombaanhu, preceded by King Eelu yaElaa. Oral history reveals that King Avula yaAlweendo went with the Germans to Outjo supposedly to sign a protection treaty with Germans and he was never seen ever since. He was presumed as having disappeared mysteriously through the cunning of the white invaders; this brought commotion and fear in the community of Ombaanhu.

Ombaanhu kingdom was without a king around 1915 to 1916; but in 1917 the royal clan installed Ishitile ya-Shiweva also known as ‘Mbwada’ as a king, however there was constant fear as a result of the mysterious disappearance of King Avula ya-Alweendo’s incident.

Estimated year 1918, an Afrikaner by the name ‘Cocky Hahn’ who was a commissioner of colonial South Africa arrived in Ombaanhu from Ondonga Kingdom via Uukwambi palace. He was nicknamed ‘Shongola’ in Oshiwambo translated as ‘Whipman’ because he was tall and he used to go around with a whip; he liked whipping black people like he did with  Shiposha sha-Shanyenga in Okapanda village.

It was recorded that Shiposha stabbed ‘Shongola’ in the arm and thereafter he was banished to Okafitu ka-Mbindhi near Ogongo in Uukwambi kingdom until his death.

Oral history alleges that Shongola arrived first at Nauyoma wa-Aipanda’s residence at Okalwii village west of present day Onambelela Combined school; Nauyoma never saw a white person in his life and he was afraid to make conversation with him so that he took the white man to Aipanda ya-Shekwiindi’s residence who was his wife’s relative.

Aipanda ya-Shekwiindi was from Aatundu clan and he welcomed the white man by slaughtering an ox. Aipanda had a lot of cattle from his brother Kalipi ka-Shekwiindi who worked as a spy for Uukwambi kings Nuuyoma wa-Eelu and Negumbo lya-Kandenge who regularly sent cattle-raiders into Ombaanhu kingdom and Uukolonkadhi.

In the year 1917, the Ombaanhu kingdom ruler was Ishitile ya-Shiweva who was chosen after the fear and uncertainty that had followed the mysterious disappearance of king Avula ya-Alweendo  and the brutal killing of king Mandume yaNdemufayo of Oukwanyama kingdom.

Oral history has recorded Ishitile ya-Shiweva as an interesting ruler and a man of few words.

The most regular answer he gave to any question posed to him was ‘oKalunga’ meaning ‘it is God’. He was very innovative and secretive, loved the royal house and wanted to protect it from the influence of white people. After the whites started to engage the Aambaanhu masses King Mbwada expanded his regular answer adding ‘noonyoko’ so the regular answer became “oKalunga noonyoko”, meaning ‘it is God and your mothers’.

Shongola engineered the colonial succession of Ombaanhu kingdom which saw Oswin Mukulu and Kaimbi Mundjele taking over a throne unlawfully which Aambaanhu had to take as a remedy to save the royal family from being killed by white people.

The current Ombaanhu Traditional Authority is of a colonial making because it was entrenched by Cocky Hanh in 1918 when he said in Afrikaans language “Van vandag  af Apanda Sekusidi (meaning Aipanda ya-Shekwiindi)  is voorman van Ombalanhu” followed by Kaimbi Mundjele and Kalipi Mundjele and Oswin Mukulu the current Chief of Ombaanhu who was elected in the 1980s through the racist apartheid government controlled elections through the Owambo Bantustan government led by Bishop  Peter Kalangula deputized by reverend Titus Ndatunga Aikanga-Heita.

Aambaanhu clans range from Aakwanghwiyo/Aakwanambwa, Aatundu, Aakwamandjila, Aakwamwilwa, Aakwanamatsi/Aakwanahungi, Aakwanangombe, Aakwambuve, Aakwanambuba, Aakwambahu, Aakwausinda and Aakwashifa.

The kingships of Owambo tribes follow the maternal lineage and not paternal lineage and a tradition dictates that a throne cannot be succeeded by someone with a scar on the body or someone who is left handed because it’s regarded as a taboo.

Shivute Kaapanda is a pan-Africanist writer from Eyanda village in Ombaanhu; he is also a columnist and the author of the book called “The Conscious Republic’