The meaning of some places in Oshiwambo (Part 5)

By Petrus Angula Mbenzi
February 2014



Omugulugwombashe:  The name of the village in the Omusati region.  This village is situated in Uukwaluudhi.  The name is linked to the presence of the giraffe in the jungle Omugulugwombasheconsists of a noun omugulu(jungle) and the possessive – goombashe(of giraffe) it therefore means the jungle of giraffe. The other variant form of this name is Onkulumbashe andOngulumbashe. These misnomers came into being as a result of mishearing.


Okathakekola: The name of the parish, village in the Okaku Constituency. There were many crows in the place which lay and hatched their eggs in the trees which was next to the pond.  People named the place Okathakekola(pond of crows).


Ondombe yomuntu a londa: The name of vlei in the Oniipa Constituency in the Oshikoto region. It is related to a story of men who decided to go to the Uushimba(place of Tjimba speaking people) in search of employment.  They travelled on foot and one of them became exhausted and was left behind.  This man saw a lion and ran away and climbed on the tree which was next to the ondombe(pond) which never dried up quickly.  He tied himself to a tree so that he could not fall down.  While he was on the tree, the lion lay next to the tree trunk and drank water from the ondombefrom time to time.  The man remained on the tree until he died of thirst. The place was named Ondombe yomuntu alonda(the pond of a person climbing).


Omwandi gOntala:The name of the village situated between Ondonga and Uukwanyama.  In the ancient times men who went to Ondangwa to be enlisted for contract labour system used to rest under the omwandi(African ebony tree).  Often they spent a night under the omwandibut that the place was frequented by the wild animals and the job hunters were scared of being devoured by wild animals, they made their beds on the Omwandihence the name Omwandi gwOntala(the African Ebony Fruit of bed)


Omaalala: The name of a village and a school. It comes from the verb stem- alaala(to wander about aimlessly).  In this place the owls flew around day and night thus it was named Omaalala(the place of wandering around referring to the habit of the owls).


Ogongo: The name of village, parish, school and constituency in the Omusati region. It is named after a big jungle. A certain man Iiyambo Kakawa pioneered this place and went to the headman asking for permission to settle in this jungle. The headman refused to give him permission but he never gave up and insisted on asking for permission. Finally the headman became sympathetic towards him and said: ogo ngo(there it is) thus he was allowed to settle in the jungle and Ogongobecame its name.


Oluteyi:  The name of parish, school and vlei in the Omusati region in the Ongandjera district.  The name is related to the big tree stump which was near the vlei. It had only one branch hence the name Oluteyi(branch).


Oshaango:  The name of the parish, school and village in Ohangwena region in the Onamukulo Constituency. It is based on the very long trip undertaken by certain people.  These travellers were about to lose hope before reaching their destination hence they said: oshaa ngo tatu yi(as long as we move forward) this became the name of the place.


Omashaka: The name of the township in Ondangwa town.  The Uumbundu speaking people from Angola used to come and settle in this place when they came searching for employment.  The name originates from okushakena(to meet) because it was a meeting place for the Umbundu speaking people.


Omukandu:  The name of the village in Oshana region in the Uukwiyu Constituency.  This place is situated near the desert, the livestock owners used to drive their animals to this area for grazing purposes.  The name comes from the verb stem – kandula– to drive.  It has been shortened to Omukanduwhen it was changed to a noun.


Onantsiis the name of the village, district in the Oshana region in Ondangwa Constituency.  It lies to the south-west of Ondangwa town.  There are several water-pans in the area.  During the dry season, mirages appear in the pans and, animals are fooled by mirages that there is water.  They move faster in search of water and as they move a lot of dust moves into the air and the place remains dusty.  The name consists of the prefix – O, the verb stem- -na(have/has) and the noun stem- - ntsi(dusty). Onantsitherefore means a place with dust.


Ongutais the name of parish and village in Oshana region in Ondangwa Constituency.  The word means food which one eats before he/she undertakes a journey.  During the colonial era several men came to Ondangwa to be enlisted for contract labour system so that they would be employed in the Uushimba.  When people were enlisted they could not go back to their abodes to be served with Onguta.  They just went to the nearby clusters of shebeens to prepare Onguta.  A parish was later on erected in this place and was given this name as it is believed that it assists the people spiritually before they undertake the trip. PF