Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Videos Of Ovambo (Owambo) Traditional Dancing - Namibia (2009-2011)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a three part series that showcases traditional dances of the Ovambo people of Namibia, South Africa.

Part I features examples of these dances which were published on YouTube from 2009 through 2011.

Click for Part II of this series. Part II features examples of these dances which were published on YouTube from 2012-2014 (to this date).

Click for Part III of this series. Part III showcases examples of the male dance "omupembe".

Some information about the Ovambo people is also included in these posts.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who work to keep traditional performing arts cultures alive. Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

"The Ovambo people (sometimes called Owambo) are an amalgamation of diverse agricultural Bantu-speaking people occupying international border regions of southern Angola and northern Namibia, popularly known as Ovamboland. The Ovambo people are by far the largest ethnic group in Namibia and make up just over half the population...

The Name Ovambo (Owambo)/Geography
It is maintained in the source literature that the Ovambo owe their name to their neighbours the Herero. Tuupainen (1970:12) states that the term ‘Ovambo’ is derived from the Herero ovajamba, meaning ‘wealthy-people’, whilst Loeb (1962:9) claims that in Herero dialect ‘ovambo’ means ‘people-with-the-cattle-posts’, because the Ovambo had to graze their cattle north and east of the living area.

Although the two interpretations of the term differ, what is important is that they both contain a reference to Ovambo economic prosperity and relative political power based on ivory trading (jamba: elephant) and pastoralism/cattle raiding....

Ovambo people are part of the Great Bantu Migration from West Africa and Central Africa through Great Lake area and further down to Upper Zambezi and to later migrated gradually to their present locations in Namibia and Angola. Ovambo people met San and Khoikhoi people of Southern Africa. Ovambo people like all the Bantu people brought iron technology to Southern Africa and used it as a superior weapon to pushed away the aboriginal tribes making to possible for them to occupy their land.
Click for general information about the African nation of Namibia.

UPDATE: July 15, 2014
I think that the type of dancing that is showcased in Part I and Part II may be called "epera".

Here's a passage that I found while conducting an internet search:
Music as Instrument of Diversity and Unity: Notes on a Namibian Landscape by Minette Mans - 2003 (Nordic Africa Institute, 2003, p. 47)
"Certain dances are judged by the amount of energy expended, for example omupembe, a dance where young men leap over the heads of others who are standing upright. Others are judged on subtlety and neatness and even smallness of movements, for example epera- where especially women execute small triple steps while shaking their shoulders and hips. Add to this the fact that youthful performances are judged by different standards to those of elders- not as one might expect by lowering standards for older dancers, but by expecting an even greater level of assurance, subtlety, and coolness. Some dances might demand that there be good synchronism among performers, while others look for individual expression, not merely of self, but of lineage, history and ownership. In certain areas a high placed nasal tone is good, while in other areas, a deep throat tone with jaw vibrations is good.

Although aesthetic judgments may be influenced by individual tastes, they are firmly seated within a wider value system. They re open to change in the same way that variation may bring change to the musical template, through repeated small adjustments within the cultural landscape."

These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting date on YouTube with the oldest dated posts presented first.

Example #1: Namibian Dreams

Nambian Dreams, Uploaded on Jun 2, 2009

an informational video explaining a little bit about the country of Namibia, the conditions there, and the underlying reason for the Namibian Dreams project

Example #2: Performance at J.P.Brand School in Ituseb, Namibia

Frenchie1656, Uploaded on Nov 26, 2010
Ituseb, Namibia

Example #3: Namibian's Wambo cultural dancing

Lance McNeill, Uploaded on Dec 13, 2010

Namibian Wambo tribe's cultural dance at Pendukeni Iivula Ithana HS, honoring the Honorable Pendukeni Iivula Ithana during her visit to the school.

Example #4: Namibian cultural and tradition

Titus Angula, Uploaded on Jul 21, 2011

"the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc."

Namibia have 11 ethnic group and 27 dialects spoken. these video is showing the Oshiwambo speaking people, their traditional dance, jump and dressing.

Example #5: Ovambo dance at 5Rand Primary

Bellendmeansdongtip, Uploaded on Sep 16, 2011

Example #6: Katatura Youth Development (KYD) - Namibia: Cultural Dance Troupe

Journeys, Uploaded on Nov 16, 2011

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