The Marula Festival, commonly known as the Oshituthi shOmagongo Festival has for over a decade become an official calendar event for the traditional authorities and the people in the northern parts of Namibia.
This year’s Oshituthi shOmagongo is being hosted by the Ondonga Traditional Authority and will be held on the 7th May at the Ondonga Royal Palace at Onamungundo, Oshikoto Region, starting at 10H00.
Every year a King and the traditional authority of the tribe selected that year host the Oshituthi shOmagongo. The public then attends the one day ceremony that is often attended by the country’s leaders both at traditional, political and business levels. Last year the event was inscribed onto the list of the World Intangible Cultural Heritages by UNESCO and this will be the first time it is celebrated as such.
The Aawambo people are amongst the Bantu people that are known to have migrated from West Africa, and settled in what is today known as North of Namibia centuries ago. The Marula trees are said to have followed them, and are known to them as “Omugongo”, the same word also means the “Spine” in Oshiwambo. Like a spine the Marula tree has kept nations of southern Africa standing, from primitive times to the current hours of civilization. The Aawambo people in particular and like many other communities in Africa are very fond of the tree, to them it is a sacred tree, a mahangu field that has Marula trees is by their standards a good field, and often Kings settled in Fields populated with Marula trees.
From the Marula tree, Aawambo get shade, the fruits (ongongo), the Juice (Oshinwa), The fermented beer (Omagongo), the oil (Odjove), the cracked nuts would be used as fire wood (iigongoti), the bark can be used to treat hair, the wet branches can be used to treat a cough. The livelihood of the Aawambo people revolved around the Marula tree. It is therefore not a wonder that when the 8 tribes of the Aawambo people tried finding the one thing they have in common in order to celebrate they picked the marula beer season, and the marula beer as a festival that rotates amongst them.
The members of the community are therefore invited by Tatekulu Omukwaniilwa to attend the festival at the Palace. Omagongo is known not to be served with nothing slaughtered. We are hereby confirming that all will be served as per the customs of our people. A cardinal call is also extended to all the subjects and sympathizers to do what they normally do when the King is hosting guests from far away places. As a norm, you are expected to volunteer your services and take note that okatungwa okena evi.