UMBUNDU, MBUNDU, OVIMBUNDU (Angola) (EHRAF) (3+,3+,3+,3+,3+,3+; 5,5)


IndexAfricaAngola → Umbundu


Featured: Babunda, Luimi, Umbundu, Bajok / Badjok, Wahiwé



Girls are warned for boys. An Ovimbundu mother “[…] will teach her daughter saying, A girl does not play with boys, for boys are sharp ones[1]. Don’t play with them. This advice is because of sex, although the child may not understand it at the time. But when the boys call her, she will remember the advice of her mother and may quickly reply, saying, My mother says, Don’t play with boys: they’ll hurt you. Thus she has taken to heart what her mother has told her and may go ahead in the same way. A good deal of knowledge is “incidentally” learned from adults and children, though “[l]ittle direct sex teaching is attempted”. Parental sexual intercourse might be observed, though prevented. McCullouch (1952:p42)[2]: “Little direct sex teaching is attempted, and adults are reticent in speaking of sexual matters in the presence of children. But since children live with their parents in one-room houses, it is inevitable that children should sometimes observe intercourse”. “Hetero-sexual play is not in vogue” (Childs, 1949:p103-4)[3]. No speculations are made for possible instructions at the onjango (men’s club), an institution in decline where boys learned “to know his social status and all the etiquette pertains to it”, or at the initiation. The Ovimbundu education is said to be generally casual. With puberty (about 14-16 for girls, 15-17 for boys), “girls congregate in kitchens and each boy builds himself a house”. Late teens may have a trial marriage (oku tumisa), but are warned for intimacy. Premarital virginity is highly prized, although no periodic tests take place (cf., Erny (1972 [1981;p61]). Three females “act as instructors for the girls during isolation in the bush where they receive sexual and domestic instruction”[4].











Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Imel˜el˜e, lit. sharpened stakes such as those used at the bottom of a pit-fall to trap game. [orig. footnote]

[2] McCullouch,  M. (1952) The Ovimbundu of Angola. London: International African Institute

[3] Childs, G. M. (1949) Umbundu Kinship and Character. London

[4] Hambly, W. D. (1934) The Ovimbundu of Angola. Chicago: [eHRAF]