CLAUS NEBE
P.O. Box / Postfach 104
OKAHANDJA 
Namibia
Tel. +264-(0)62 - 500760 
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O'Vitas history

Click to enlarge At the beginning of the last century, a German colonial company bought the Farm Ongombeanavita from Herero Chief Samuel Maherero. The purchase price was paid in Reichsgoldmark. In the sixties, the name Ongombeanavita was shortened to O’Vita.
Farm O’Vita was originally a cattle farm and owned by the Nebe Family since 1926. The current owner of O’Vita, Claus Nebe, took over the farm in 1958 after his father had died. Claus Nebe then decided to live his youth dream and developed the current game and hunting farm. This is how Ongombeanavita became one of the first hunting farms in former South West Africa. When its first trophy hunters arrived from Europe in 1963 a lot still had to be done on the 10.000 ha farm. Formerly endemic game species had to be reintroduced, game-proof fencing to be erected, natural water spots in the form of dams (bowl dams and small dams) to be constructed. However, all these things were put in place and the project materialized. Meanwhile there are 20 water spots on O’Vita. The last cattle were sold in 1980 and in 1985 an important step forward was made: O’Vita was recognized as the first commercial game farm in Namibia and Claus Nebe’s dream had become a reality.

Ongombe Ja Navita - Where the name comes from

The phrase itself is part of a special language in Herero culture, which would be spoken or sung by old women giving ritual respect to an honoured man at his funeral.

‘Ongombe’ on its own means ‘cattle’, but when it is put together with the other words, it speaks of a special or sacred cow, which would probably have been the first purchase of a very important man. This cow becomes almost priceless and would never be slaughtered unless the man fell on incredibly hard times. In fact, over the years, the animal comes to represent the status of the man, and to symbolise his material and ideological achievements. The fact, that a place has been named after a cow in this specially reserved language shows that its owner was a man of great standing in the community: a role model or hero.

The rest of the phrase tells us to whom the cow belonged. Navita is an old hero of the Herero culture, who dwelled and moved around the Okahandja-Mount Etjo-Omaruru region from about 1863. He was a highly respected, wealthy man known for his heroism in opening up the central-western region of Namibia to the Herero nation. He was the chief of a clan, ruling over several counsellors and headmen. In claiming the land for the Hereros, he fought against Bushmen and probably Damara groups who occupied the region prior to his arrival. Ongombe Ja Navita was the piece of land on which he lived until he died, and though the exact date of his death is unknown, it was certainly prior to the death of Chief Maherero in 1890.

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  Sources: 

  • Alex Kaputu – Specialist in Herero history and traditions. 
    Presenter with the NBC’s Herero Service (Tel: 291 2405)
  •  Willie Kauaria – Linguist and Social researcher. 
     Winhdhoek Municipality Public Relations Officer (Tel: 391 2056)
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