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About Rainmaking  

Rainmaking Myths and Rituals

The municipality of Gambos (Quipungo) is located in south-western Angola, a semi-arid region, drained by the River Kaculuvar within the Kunene River basin. The region is inhabited by pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. Mobility and transhumance are vital elements of their production systems and socio-cultural life and economy. In the event of droughts or delayed rainfall, the water points for people and cattle and goats are affected. Then the elders of the region will come together to see Ohamba, the king of Embala, which is the seat where the king resides. They will ask him to intercede with the ancestors through mystical rituals and ceremonies which form part of the local habits and customs. The ancestors may be very angry, so that prayers and requests are needed to appease them. The Ohamba is persuaded or obliged to lead such ceremonies. The first act is done by one to three men who at four in the afternoon, or six in the morning, will anoint the sacred stones with mumpeke oil, at the site where the kings of Embala are usually enthroned. After that, a traditional priest with clairvoyant gifts continues with the second ceremony called okukelimbula to find what the ancestors demand to "release" the rain. The act is closed by announcing what the ancestors wish and what kind of ceremony they prefer. Among others, at least three colourful black oxen are prepared; one is sacrificed in Embala at a festival full of dances like Nkanqula, Lundongo, and Ondjongo Mutange. The remaining oxen are brought to other important Embalas in the region, normally to Quihita or Jáu.

Source: Guilherme Santos, based on an interview with Mr. António Chipingui (communal administrator of Chibemba in the municipality of Gambos/Quipungo) on 3 November 2010.




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