Oshituthi shomagongo, marula fruit festival


Inscribed in 2015 (10.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport & Culture of Namibia, 2012
The Oshituthi shomagongo, marula fruit festival is a celebration that lasts two to three days between March and April, uniting the eight Aawambo communities of northern Namibia through the consumption of ''omagongo'', a beverage made from marula fruit. In preparation for the festival, men carve wooden goblets and small serving gourds, and tools from cattle horns to pierce the fruit. Meanwhile, women make the baskets and clay pots used for processing ''omagongo'', gather the ripened fruit with the help of young people, and extract and ferment the juice in clay pots for two to seven days. During the process, they discuss issues that affect them, such as family problems, sing traditional songs, recite poems and share knowledge about basketry and pottery-making. Processing the marula fruits brings old and young people together to share knowledge and skills, which are transmitted informally through observation, active participation and emulation. Once the fermentation process is complete, community members and guests are served ''omagongo'' and traditional cuisine. The festival is a relaxed social gathering during which communities and guests socialize, sing and dance, and men recite histories.