Ovambo Tribe: People of Namibia: Tribes of Africa

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Location: Namibia, Angola, Africa

The Owambo, mainly involved in agriculture and cattle farming, make up more 50 per cent of the Namibia's population. The Owambo is actually a collection of various tribes with a common culture and origin who moved to this region from East Africa. Today the various groups live in southern Angola and another eight in the northern Namibia, with the largest tribe called the Kwanyama.

They are also known as traders, and shopping complexes, stalls and cuca shops are found all over their region. The women are involved in intricate artwork and crafting like dressmaking, pottery, basketry and woodcarving. Like in many African cultures, the women are also traditionally responsible for cultivating the land and raising children. Many Owambo's now work on mines or have moved to cities, however, the majority take pride in their heritage and identity, and continue to maintain their kraals (a village consisting of traditional houses with a fence around it as protection).

The Owambo is actively involved in the politics of the country. SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organisation), the current ruling party started as non-violent pressure group who led by Herman Toivo ya Toivo and Samuel Shafiishuna Nujoma (the firstly elected president).


Credits:  Christopher D. Roy also see credit page 
Professor of the History of Art
The University of Iowa