Flat sandy plains of Southern Angola and Northern Namibia make up the Ovamboland, with water courses that bisect the area. These are known as oshanas. In the northern regions of the Ovamboland there are thick belts of tropical vegetation. The average rainfall in this area is around 17 inches during the rainy season. The oshanas can become flooded and sometimes submerge three-fifths of the region. This poses a unique problem for the Ovambo people. They have had to adapt to the changing weather patterns. In the dry season they are able to use their huge grassy plains for stock to graze upon.
The Ovambo people have been able to adapt to their land and their environment. They raise cattle, fish in the oshanas, and farming. The Ovambo people are skilled craftsmen. They make and sell basketry, pottery, jewelry, wooden combs, wood iron spears, arrows, richly decorated daggers, musical instruments, and also ivory buttons.
The traditional home is built as a group of huts surrounded by a fence of large vertical poles. Some families also build a Western-style cement block building within the home. Each hut generally has a different purpose, such as a bedroom, store room, or kitchen. Most families collect water from a nearby public tap.
Most families have a large plot of land, and their primary crop is millet, which is made into a thick porridge. They also grow beans, watermellons, squash, and sorghum. Most households own a few goats and cattle, and occasionally a few pigs. It is the job of the young men to attend to the goats and cattle, taking them to find grazing areas during the day, and bringing them back to the home in the evening. Most houses have chickens, which roam freely. Like most farms, dogs and cats are common pets. When the rains come, the rivers to the north in Angola overflow and flood the area, bringing fish, birds, and frogs.
Traditionally, the Ovambo people lived a life that was highly influenced by their magico-religious influences. They not only believed in good and evil spirits but also they are influenced by great superstitions. Most members of the Ovambo tribe believe in a supreme spirit, known as Kalunga. This spirit is known to take the form of a man and move invisibly among the people. This spirit is very important to the tribe. When the tribe is visited with a famine or pestilence it is the responsibility of the Kalunga to help the people along.
Beliefs among the Ovambo people centre around their belief in Kalunga. For example, when a tribe member wants to enter the chief's kraal, they must first remove their sandals. It is said that if this person does not remove their sandals it will bring death to one of the royal inmates and throw the kraal into mourning. Another belief deals with burning fire in the chief's kraal. If the fire burns out, the chief and the tribe will disappear. One important ceremony that takes place is when the harvest is done. The whole community has a feast and celebrates its possessions.
Each tribe has a chief that is responsible for the tribe, although many have converted to running tribal affairs with a council of headmen. Members of the royal family of the Ovamboland are known as aakwanekamba and only those who belong to this family by birth have a claim to chieftainship. Because descent is matrilineal, these relations must fall on the mother's side. The chief's own sons have no claim in the royal family. They grow up as regular members of the tribe.
CYP2A6 Polymorphism Reveals Differences in Japan and the Existence of a Specific Variant in Ovambo and Turk Populations
Apr 01, 2006; Abstract CYP2A6 is a polymorphic enzyme, and CYP2A6 genotype has been shown to be associated with smoking habits and lung cancer....