Collection Description

Culture Name

Ovimbundu

Culture Description

The Ovimbundu are the largest ethnic group in Angola. They live in the Benguela Highlands (Bié Plateau) practicing shifting cultivation, primarily of maize and beans, raise domestic animals(cattle, goats, pigs, and fowl), and fish, hunt and trap in the dry season. The Ovimbundu were major traders in central Africa, operating Large caravans operated throughout the region. Trade items included slaves, ivory, domesticated animals, axes, hoes, guns, salt, skins, and maize. In precolonial times, Ovimbundu society included a king, other members of the ruling elite, freeborn, clients, and slaves.

Note

Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.

Region

Africa --Southern Africa

Countries

Angola

OWC Code

FP13

Number of Documents

13

Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.

Number of Pages

2198

Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Ovimbundu file contains twelve documents, including six monographs and six articles. The Missionary Gladwyn Childs wrote a basic ethnography of the Ovimbundu (Childs 1949, document no. 1) and history of the Wambu Kingdom (Childs 1964, no. 11). Another missionary, Merlin Ennis, complied and translated a collection of folktales (Ennis 1962, no. 8). Hambly (1934, no. 3) wrote another ethnography based on a yearlong expedition (1929-30). McCulloch's (1952, no.2) brief cultural outline is partially based on the ethnographies of Hambly and Childs. In two volumes, Heywood (1984, no. 9; 2000, no. 10) covers the cultural history and political economy from the early contact period up to the current civil war (2000). The historians Wheeler and Christenson (1973, no. 12) focus on the Bailunda War (1902-4) and its antecedents. In two studies of religion, Hambly (1934, no. 5) looks at magic and spiritual beliefs and Dorsey (1899, no. 4) at divination and curing practices. Edwards (1962, no. 6) and Possinger (1973, no. 13) study social and economic change resulting from the colonial encounter.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in the file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

The culture summary was written by Ian Skoggard in November 2001.

ASSIMILADO--full citizenship status for natives--641

caravan--484

CHEFE--Portuguese district officer--634

FEIRAS--markets--443

GREMIO--marketing board--441

IMBANGALA (JAGAS)--mercenaries--701

Jonas Savimbi--UNITA leader--554, 665, 669

JUNTA--marketing board--441

KESILA--customary law--671

KIMBANDA--diviner--791

MURCANOS-court procedures--695

OCIBANDA--gift, toll--431, 486

OCIMBANDA--religious practitioner--791, 793

OMBALA--capital--631, 633

OSONGO--group of related kin living together--613

OLOMBALA--chief's residence--631

OLUINA--matrilineal group--613

OLUSE--patrilineal group--613

OVEMBA--clan--614

POMBEIRO--caravan organizers--439, 484

porter--482

SEKULA--village head and elder--622, 631

SOBA (SOVA)--ruler--643

UNITA (UNIÃO NACIONAL DE INDEPENDÊNCIA TOTAL DE ANGOLA)--665, 668, 669

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