The meaning of some places in Oshiwambo (Part 7)

By Petrus Angula Mbenzi
April 2014



Eteyahombo:  The name of the clusters of shebeens in the Oshikoto region.  It literally means marriage annulments.  Residents of this place used to drink liquor a lot. They often got drunk when they drank beer from the shebeens. The drunkenness resulted in several marriage break-ups.  The main cause for marriage break-up was alcohol abuse thus it was named Eteyahombo.  It consists of two words such as eteya(the thing that breaks up something) and ohombo(marriage)


Oneshunakowe:  It is the name of the village in the Okalongo Constituency in the Omusati region.  It means I will never go back.  It is based on the story of Shikwambi the son of Halivilu of Kamushivulu who left Ombandja because of the war which broke out between the Portuquese and the Ovambandja in 1880.  Shikwambi crossed into Namibia and settled in the village headed by his father.  When he arrived he said, “Nde ya ndeyangameite shun a ko we,” (I have come, I have come, I will never go back).  He remained e in this village for three years. Afterwards, he was appointed as the headman of the village. Oneshunakowemeans I will never go back.


Ontanda ya Haikela:  The name of the vlei in the Okalongo Constituency.  It means the camp of Haikela.  Several wells were dug in this place.  A certain man, Haikela used to rest near the wells in order to ambush his brother who was heading the village Onashaalamain Ombandja at that time because he wanted to become the headman of this village which was near the wells.  The Portuguese soldiers found him there and shot him dead.  This well was thus named the camp of Haikela.


Onekukumo:  It is the name of the village in Anamulenge Constituency in the Omusati region.  Onekukumomeans the place which is feared because many people feared settling in this village.  Initially, there were only four families in this village, a contagious disease broke out in this village and wiped out two families, as a result, the survivors migrated to the neighbouring tribal areas such as Uukwambi and Uukwaluudhi.  For years nobody settled in this village but later a few families settled in the village and named it Onekukumo.


Okatha kiiteta yaShiliva:  It is the name of the water pond.  It is called the water pond of Shiliva because once upon time Shiliva was herding livestock, he decided to swim in a certain water pond.  The livestocks left and destroyed the crops of Kambuti.  Kambuti saw the cattle and drove them towards the pond.  While he was approaching, Shiliva escaped and left his clothes behind.  Shiliva’s clothes remained there for three weeks.  The pond was thus named OkathakiitetayaShiliva(the pond of underclothes of Shiliva.  The word iitetain Oshiwambo could also mean clothes.


Otamutala:  It is the name of the village in Ondangwa Constituency in the Oshana region.  It means shame on you.  It came into existence when a certain man was kicked out of Oshitambi, the eastern part of Ondonga because he liked fighting.  He moved to Onamayongo, the western part of Ondonga.  He cleared one place and built his house.  This place was headed by him and named it Otamutala(shame on you) referring to the people who kicked him out of Oshitambi.


Omutwewomuntu:  The name of the village in the Ohangwena region. Once upon a time the cattle herders came across a human skull surrounded by the grass.  When they got home they informed other people that they saw a human skull.  The place thus began to be called Omuntwewomunhu(a human skull)


Ondama yAakushokuti:  The name of the dam in the Oshikoto region.  In the ancient time, the Aawambo were sold to the Portuquese in exchange for liquor.  Nehale lyaMpingana (the king of Eastern Ondonga (1884- 1911) sold   Mathias yUukongo to the Portuquese.  Mathias tried unsuccessfully to escape from Angola to Ondonga three times.  On the fourth occasion he succeeded to escape and settled in Ondonga.  He was nicknamed Akushokuti(the one who knows the jungle because he fearlessly travelled through the jungle).  He erected his house next to the dam which became known as Ondama yaAshikushokuti(the dam of the one who knows the jungle).


Okashana kUukongo waNehale:  The name of the place which is full of grass and few trees.  It is situated in the Omuthiya Constituency in the Oshikoto region.  The Okashana (open space) belonged to king Nehale lyaMpingana only. He had the exclusive right to go hunting in this area, because it was believed all wild animals in Okashana were castrated by him.  According to the Oshiwambo tradition, one only castrates animals that belong to him or when he is authorised to do so by the rightful owners of the animals.  That is the reason why the place is called Okashana kUukongo waNehale (the grass plain of hunting by Nehale.


Ombalamumbwenge:  The name of the village is the Oniipa Constituency in the Oshikoto region.  It consists of two words Ombala(Place) and Mumbwenge(the name of the Aandonga king, Mumbwenge guule waa na kwa tetwa  (960-1700) which means even if you cut him short Mumbwenge remains tall.  Ombwengeis another word for Kavango. He occupied and ruled Ondonga but he hailed from Kavango.  The village where his court was built was thus named Ombalayamumbwenge (the palace of Mumbwenge).


Omwandi gwAakwankala:  The name of the village in Olukonda Constituency in the Oshikoto region.  Omwandi GwaAnkwankalameans the African ebony tree of the Bushmen.  In the ancient times in Ondonga, the bushman were used to kill the offenders who were sentenced to death.  During the reign of Martin yaKadhikwa (1912 -1942) if one was sentenced to death he/she was taken to the Oomwandiwhere the Bushmen killed the offenders that were sentenced to death.  The place thus got this name OmwandigwAakwaankala. PF