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 and succession 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, but he stood out as the overall leader of the Ombaanhu community of that time.

With the settlement of the Ombaanhu people in areas of present-day northern Namibia/southern Angola, and the formation 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 in the 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 therefore known to be the founding king of the kingdom of Ombaanhu.

Except for King Kamhaku, oral history recorded nothing of historical significance concerning the royal house of Ombaanhu, until the estimated years of 1913-1914 when King Avula ya-Alweendo was the ruler of Ombaanhu after succeeding King Eelu ya-Elaa.

Oral history reveals that King Avula ya-Alweendo 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 been killed after he disappeared mysteriously, and this brought commotion and fear in the community of Ombaanhu.

As a result 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 and concern for the safety of the royals, born of the mysterious disappearance of King Avula ya-Alweendo’s incident.

Estimated year 1918, an Afrikaner man by the name of ‘Cocky Hahn’ who was a commissioner of colonial South Africa in Namibia (South West 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 have a whip, and he liked whipping black people like he did with Shiposha sha-Shanyenga in Okapanda village.

It was recorded that as a result of the whipping, Shiposha stabbed ‘Shongola’ in the arm and thereafter Shiposha was banished to Okafitu ka-Mbidhi near Ogongo in Uukwambi kingdom where he stayed 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 had never seen a white person in his life and he was afraid to make conversation with him, and he therefore 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 warmly 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.

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.

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 probing 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 and the masses started surrendering to white influences King Mbwada expanded his regular answer by adding ‘noonyoko’ so the regular answer became “oKalunga noonyoko”, meaning ‘it is God and your mothers’.

As a result of the royal house’s unwillingness to surrender its authority to the colonial government, 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 Hahn in 1918 when he said in Afrikaans language “Van vandag af Kapanda Sekusidi (meaning Aipanda ya-Shekwiindi) is Voorman van Ombalanhu” meaning ‘From today Aipanda ya-Shekwiindi is the Chief of Ombaanhu’.

Shekwiindi was thus put on the throne of Ombaanhu by a white man; and he was 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 Bantu-stan government led by Bishop Peter Kalangula deputized by revered 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 which 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.

The Ombalanhu kingdom history has been ignored by the mainstream Namibian history and by the Namibian political leadership since independence.

– Shivute Kaapanda is an author, historical researcher, critic of contemporary politics, and traditionalist theorist from Eyanda village. He can be reached at: