Omalodu is a fermented traditional beer among the Oshiwambo speaking people of Namibia. It is a socio-cultural symbol and important for celebrating the births, weddings, visitors, birthdays and traditional dancing ceremonies. When we visit my aunt at Ongha village, she loves to prepare omalodu to welcome us.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

Omalodu is prepared with sorghum and pearl millet flours (iilya). Both are distinctly nutritious. Sorghum contains iron, copper and calcium, whereas pearl millet has methionine, folic acid, lecithin, manganese and zinc.

Rights to Julie R. Thomson

My aunt starts the preparation by soaking the ufila wongava (sorghum flour) in cold water and letting it rest for two hours. This mixture is then boiled for two hours until ready. Whilst boiling, it is stirred continuously with an omindo (scooping utensil) to prevent it from boiling over.

Whilst the mixture is boiling, omako (brown sack with fine pores) and embale (dried moist fan palm leaves) are prepared. The omako is then tied to a wooden pole and the mixture is filtered through it. A hole is dug in the elimba lomalodu (omalodu storing area) in which the oshitoo (traditional omalodu container) is placed overnight for warmth and fermentation.

Rights to Melvin Araeb

In the meantime, my cousins and I mill the threshed pearl millet grain from previous harvests for ondwango (freshly milled pearl millet flour) at the oshini (milling area).

Rights to Ron Swilling

In the morning, two hours before drinking, ondwango is added to the filtered mixture for further fermentation. Once the oshitoo is removed from the hole, water is sprinkled on the ground where it will be placed, in order to keep the omalodu cool. Once ready, everyone gathers at the elimba lomalodu to enjoy an eholo (traditional cup) of omalodu. It has a mild taste, with evident sorghum and pearl millet flavours. As conversations over omalodu are underway, the oshitoo quickly empties.

Rights to Melvin Araeb

To quench your omalodu thirst, visit the Pepata Restaurants in Windhoek on Robert Mugabe Avenue, CBD and Robin Road, Tauben Glen Centre, Shop No.3. Omalodu is only brewed at the restaurant on weekends.

Have you tasted omalodu? Did you like it? Let us know by sharing your story in the comment section below.

Author –  I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.