The relevance of “Kalunga Noonyoko” African metaphor (part 1)

By Shivute Kaapanda [Think Tank Africa]

History has taught us how popular concepts of metaphor rose to prominence publicly in different ways.

Saint Paul for instance is known for some popular ideas and concepts we use today including some of the virtues of leadership such as Faith, Hope and Love were coined and presented in metaphoric forms by him and are popular in today’s discourse especially in spiritual and political space.

Argentinean  Marxist revolutionary  Ernesto Che Guevara who was a friend to Angola’s revolutionary lastborn Jonas Savimbi is known for his popular mobilization words or concepts such as “Liberators do not exist, people liberate themselves”.

Martinique Island’s revolutionary Frantz Fannon who now belongs to the ancestry is known for his popular revolutionary chorus “Each generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it”.

It is not something new for leaders, authors or storytellers around the globe not to have specific words or concepts associated with their names and styles or fashion of leadership.

Namibian President Hage Geingob is well known for his “One Namibia, one nation and Harambee concept”. It’s exactly for this reason and style of reciting concepts that I introduce you to one of the greatest African leaders named Ishitile yaShiweva  also known as “Mbwada” who  was the 8th King of Ombalanhu Kingdom who led the Ombalanhu Kingdom a sub tribe of Aawambo tribe in present day Namibia around the year 1917.

He succeeded King Avula yaAlweendo who died after he mysteriously disappeared, the event which coincided with the heroic death of King Mandume yaNdemufayo of Oukwanyama Kingdom.

Oral history has recorded that King Ishitile yaShiweva was a clever and interesting ruler, and a man of few words. Knowing fully well the military strength of the whites and the danger they posed to his kingdom, the most regular answer he gave to any intellectually challenging question posed to him by his subjects was “o’Kalunga” meaning ‘it is God’.

He was very brave, innovative and secretive, loved the royal house and wanted to protect it from the influence of white people without engaging them in military conflict.

After the whites started to seriously engage with the Aambalanhu masses King Mbwada expanded his regular answer by adding ‘nooNyoko’, so the regular answer became “oKalunga nooNyoko”, meaning ‘it is God and your mothers’.

It is this epitome of leadership and radical concept and motto of King Mbwada of Ombalanhu Kingdom which inspires my recitation “Kalunga nooNyoko” today which has now become my nickname and social media name because it carries not only a radical message in it but also a revolutionary metaphor and a cultural grounding which radiates a feeling of bravery, progress and fortitude in me.

– Shivute Kaapanda is an Author and Columnist from Eyanda village. He authored a book titled “The Conscious Republic” published in 2020. He can be contacted at