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Ombili History

History Outline of Ombili Foundation

Ombili foundation was established in March 1989, in a place called Omauni base that was situated in the northern part of Namibia. It was 20km from Angolan border, east of Okongo.

After the South African war against swapo ended, Mr. Willem Ratter, Mr. Klaus Mais-Rische and Mr. Reinhard Friendrich came up with an idea on how they could assist the deprived group of San people who were living around the Omauni base of Olukula, Ombongola, Okanyandi and Otjiolo. At the end of November 1989, Mr. Klause Maise-Rische decided to relocate with this San people to a different place. They moved to a place called Depete where they stayed for couple of days. Three weeks later, they moved again to another place called Domusis until June 1990. From there onwards, Mr. Mais-Rische than decided to bring the San people to his own farm Hedwigslust which is today called Ombili. I was one of the guys who drove this indigenous group to Ombili. It was a long and exhausting journey.

Written by: 

Joao Ndumba

Ombili Crafts

For many San, making wickerwork is the only, and for some, an additional way of earning money to support themselves.

To do this, they use the natural materials of their environment, such as palm leaves, tamboti and jacaranda wood and ostrich egg shells, wild cotton. From this, for example, animals of their living area, jewelry and wickerwork are created.

The foundation usually buys up twice a month the items that are sent to Germany or sold to tourists in the cultural center at Ombili.

In Germany, the Ombili-Freundeskreis Northeim and our Freundeskreis sell these beautiful products at markets, for example Christmas markets, and during other events.

The Friends of Basel Zoo in Switzerland have been very active in selling Ombili Crafts for a number of years. Since 2019, Ombili products have also been available for purchase at Leipzig Zoo. Other options exist and are attached.

In our craft catalog you will find some examples of the items of which the larger selection is available in our warehouse. The creativity and quality of what the San create has steadily improved, and they surpass themselves with their new ideas. The depictions of animals appear very lively and lifelike.

We would be happy to send you our products: woven baskets, bowls, coasters in various sizes and designs, mobiles with fabric or carved animals, rows of animals, sculptures, letter openers, jewellery, printed textiles and other very beautiful things. Each item is unique.

With the purchase of each of these beautiful handicrafts created by the San, you make a significant contribution to the nutrition and livelihood of numerous families in Ombili.

Due to the still critical financial situation due to the loss of income from tourism, the changes in infrastructure at Ombili caused by the COVID-19 measures, increased living costs (approx. 8%) in Namibia and significantly higher postal and transport costs for the Crafts packages to Germany, we need to take this into account when pricing Ombili Crafts.

We ask for your understanding.

Maybe you need an original gift. Please contact us by email or phone."
craft catalogue