Mbanderu literally means 'to fight'. In the 19th century the Ovambanderu migrated southward from Angola into Kaokoland and Ovamboland but got into fights with already resident Herero tribes and subsequently settled in the eastern part of South-West Africa.
The culture of the Ovambanderu people does not differ much from the one of the Ovaherero people. They speak almost the same language and also share the same sacred beliefs, for instance in the use of the holy fire (okuruwo) to communicate with their ancestors.
Two important cultural notions are ejanda and oruzo, connected to the old living style, dating from very long back and up to now no one can tell where it had originated from. "Ejanda" determines many things, like who you are, who you should marry; Two people with exactly the same ejanda will not get married to each other no matter their kin relationship. "Ejanda" confirms one's relationship regarding marriages and other sacred things. It is also associated with animals the way they act naturally.
"Oruzo" determines what domestic animals one must keep, eat and use, their colours and other factors.
Marriage partners are already determined at the birth of a girl, determined by the parents, and in most cases much older than the girl. The girl will grow up in the watchful eye of the parent and she will be told who is going to marry her and she should not object at all as a sign of respect.
Notable Mbanderu people
Notable people of Ovambanderu descent are:
- Gewald, Jan-Bart (1998). Herero Annual Parades: Commemorating to Create. pp. 131–151.
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