CHIEF SHILONGO UUKULE: A Tribute
Traditionally, northern Namibia has been inhabited by Oshiwambo tribes where each tribe is under the reign of a king or Senior Chief. A king has several senior and junior chiefs and headmen and headwomen.
Among the chiefs, there is one chief considered a special senior advisor to the king. Most chiefs have wards under their jurisdiction. One of such ward is the Uukwanambwa, established by the Aakwanambwa Clan (Dog Clan) at the beginning of the century. This branch of the clan is said to have originated from the Uukwaluudhi loyal Dog Clan.
Shilongo Filippus (Nekwamo), son of Nehoya Andreas, belongs to the same Aakwanambwa Clan. He was born at Onyaanya in 1919. His grandfather was Uukule, the son of Amulungu of the Aakuusinda Clan (Snake Clan).
His father was Nehoya Andreas of the Aatundu Clan (Zebra Clan). Since his father was a polygamist, Shilongo had more than 20 siblings. Shilongo’s mother was Nangolo Aina yaNgula, the daughter of Madhigila gaShivolo. He was named after Shilongo shaNtinda from Ombalantu and former headman of Oshuushe and Ombomboli.
It is said that three men of the Aakwanambwa Clan established Uukwanambwa. They were Nkole yaAmunyela, Uugwanga waAmunyela and Shilongo shaAmunyela from Uukwaluudhi tribal area.
They also had a sister called Niigumbo yaAmunyela. Whenever they praise themselves they call upon Niigumbo saying “Tse oyaNiigumbo, yaAmatambo naNkole” (We belong to Niigumbo, Amatambo and Nkole). It is not known who Amatambo was among the three men.
Later on, other persons became headmen of Uukwanambwa from the same clan or other clans such as Mulunga gwaNangombe (Dog Clan), Iimene yaAmunwe (Zebra Clan), Nehoya Andreas yUukule (Zebra Clan and nephew to Iimene) in 1920.
The Uukule Senior Secondary School in the north was named after Senior Headman Uukule waAmulungu. After the death of Nehoya Andreas, the ward was returned to the Dog Clan under the leadership of his son, Shilongo Filippus from 1979 until 2010. Iindongo yIilundu (Iilundi), the wife of King Kambonde kaNankwaya was also from this Clan.
Shilongo Filippus the son of Andreas Uukule received basic educational training at Onyaanya under the tutorship of David Ndapopiwa, Josef Iinyemba, David Kaulwa and others. Then he decided to go and work on the farms of Stampriet.
In the meantime, he joined World War II from 1942-1943. After the war, Shilongo went to the former South Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1946. Then he moved to the mines in Johannesburg.
He also worked in Durban and Cape Town. Some of his home boys who worked in South Africa during the same period were: Kambonde kaShifotoka, Asser yaJakob, Simon yaNegongo, Moses yeErkki, Amoomo Filippus yaAmagulu and Arkelaus yaNdapopiwa (Maimbo).
After six years abroad, Shilongo returned to South West Africa (Namibia) in 1951. He was also employed in hotels in Tsumeb for some time.
At the age of 39, Shilongo decided to marry Makaya Leena yaTomas of the Aakwanekamba Clan (Hyena Clan) in 1954. They were blessed with eight children.
Since his return to Namibia, Shilongo was involved in many activities. He became a great hunter of lions and elephants, a farmer, a church choir member, a local parish elder, a traditional persecutor, and above all a Senior Headman and special counselor to the King of Ondonga in 1979.
Shikongo was known to be a peaceful man, full of courage, patience, just and compassionate. He was a generous man who exercised justice in his leadership. He promoted education and literacy. Although he was not highly educated, Shilongo was a composer of hymns and he wrote a lot. His writings range from traditional rituals, history and culture. He became a point of reference in matters of culture and tradition.
He was a sought after personality by culture and history researchers from within and outside Namibia. His cultural expertise earned him a special reputation among many people, not only in Ondonga, but also country-wide.
As the Oshiwambo proverb says: Oshiyuma oshiwanawa ihashi kala ndunda (Good clay pot does not stay forever) and Omuntu iha hoholwa (A human being cannot be panel beaten), Shilongo was not an exception.
Human frailty and old age caught up with him. At the age of 91 years old, Shilongo, the brave son of Nehoya yUukule, the son of Amulungu, breathed his last on 30 October 2010.
The Namibia nation has lost a hero, a mental archive and indeed a dedicated leader who is very difficult to replace. Shilongo was an asset to Uukwanambwa ward, Uukwanambwa district, Onyaanya parish, Okatope constituency, Ondonga traditional authority and the whole country as such. Shilongo shaNehoya was laid to rest at Onyaanya on 6 November 2010.
The attendance at his funeral is telling about what kind of a man he was. President Hifikepunye Pohamba, visited the family on the day of the memorial. The Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, King Immanuel Kauluma of Ondonga, Senior Chief Ndilimani Iipumbu of Uukwambi, Presiding Bishop Dr. Tomas Shivute (preacher of the day), Cabinet Ministers, retired bishop Kleopas Dumeni, many senior - and junior headmen and women, pastors, school children and many citizens across the north attended the funeral.
It is estimated that about 2000 people attended the two-day funeral ceremony. Shilongo’s favourite hymn in Ehangano was Number 315: Ondi ku hole Omuwa gwandje, oshoka ngoye u hole (I love you my Lord, because you love me).
His service to humanity will continue to speak up. May His Soul Rest in Peace. PF