Women revel in ‘omagongo’ season

Home National Women revel in ‘omagongo’ season
Women revel in ‘omagongo’ season

OMUNGWELUME – It is the season when women in northern parts of Namibia sit under trees along highways selling the famous traditional beverage, ‘omagongo’ to supplement family incomes.

Omagongo is a traditional beverage made from marula fruit, which is seasonal and its fermented form is mostly liked by men. Fatima Shikoyeni who was found sitting under a tree along the highway, said by selling omagongo, she is better able to provide for her family.

“I usually sell kapana but now I shifted to selling omagongo, because the business is thriving,’’ she explained. 

She indicated she sells 25 litres, which she mostly sends to customers in Windhoek and coastal towns, for N$350. 

She added that she also sells omagongo in different bottle sizes, ranging from N$20 to N$50.

Natalia Nashoongo (89), another Omagongo vendor, said in her heyday, the beverage used to be consumed for free by adults. 

She explained that a group of elders would move from one household to another looking for the seasonal drink.

She said during the omagongo season, villagers were not allowed to carry any form of weapon as a safety precaution, and this was the only restriction imposed on communities.

“One is not allowed to carry a knobkierie, knife, panga, bow and arrow, gun, or any form of weapon. People’s sense of judgement is considered low during this season, and they can act irrationally when under the influence of the brew, even when not provoked,” narrated Nashoongo as she waited for  customers.

She said gone are the days when omagongo was the only readily available alcoholic beverage, as alcohol is now freely available throughout the year.