Revisiting the Past via Ombaanhu Kingship

By Shivute Kaapanda [Think Tank Africa]

The microscope of legitimacy keeps facing 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 is 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 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 around 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.

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

Estimated years 1913-1914 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, and 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 associated with the mysterious
disappearance of King Avula ya-Alweendo’s incident.

Estimated year 1918, a notorious Afrikaner by the name of ‘Cocky Hahn’ who was a commissioner of the colonial South African government 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 have a whip, with which 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 states that Shongola arrived first at Nauyoma wa-Aipanda’s residence at Okalwii village west of present day Onambelela Combined school. Nauyoma had never seen a white person in his life and he was afraid to make conversation with Shongola, 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 king Nuuyoma wa-Eelu and Negumbo lya-Kandenge who sent cattle-raiders into Ombaanhu kingdom and Uukolonkandhi regulary.

Estimated 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 that same year.

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 from the king became “oKalunga noonyoko”, meaning ‘it is God and your mothers’.

As fate would have it, Shongola then engineered the colonial succession of Ombaanhu kingdom which saw Oswin Mukulu and Kaimbi Mundjele taking over a throne unlawfully which Aambaanhu had to grudgingly 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 Hahn in 1918 when he said in Afrikaans language that “Van vandag af Kapanda 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 revered Titus Ndatunga Aikanga-Heita.

Despite all that, the Ombaanhu people remains united and proud of their historical heritage and lineage of their kings the history of which continue to be passed on from generation to generation.

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

The Kingship of Owambo tribes follows 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.

Meanwhile the Ombaanhu kingdom’s history has been ignored by the mainstream Namibian history and by the Namibian political leadership since independence.

— Shivute Kaapanda is a pan-Afrikanist writer from Eyanda village in Omusati Region. He is also a columnist and author of the book “The Conscious Republic”.