Man’ombe Mountain, which is situated on the east of the town of Giyani, is a nature reserve under the Limpopo Tourism Department. It is a host to a variety of wild animals – except the big five.
Man’ombe Mountain also has hiking trails. Although the Chabala and Risinga clans have settled in the area, the first people to have settled there are believed to be the Luvhimbi clan. Ruins to prove this still exist.
Man’ombe or Madzi-Man’ombe is a sprawling mountain, about 6 km, east of the town of Giyani. The name is a combination of Tshivenda and Shona words, Udzima meaning being thrifty in Tshivenda and “n’ombe” – referring to cattle in Shona.
One of the descendants of Man’ombe, Petrus Munisi says the name came about after the Luvhimbis refused to slaughter cattle for their Vakhalanga in-laws during a marriage ceremony.
Thereafter the Luvhimbi clan was ridiculed or nick-named Madziman’ombe – meaning those who refused to slaughter cow or cattle.
Munisi says their forefathers settled in the area around 1600…
“Madziman’ombe or Man’ombe is a nickname. They are Luvhimbi people the name came, because long ago Vakhalanga married at Madziman’ombe. So they failed to slaughter a cow during a marriage ceremony – grumblings.
“So the people asked why are they so much grumbling? They say they grumble because people of Luvhimbi didn’t slaughter a cow for the marriage. This is where the name came from ‘u dimana nga tshivhenda u dzimana’ – they didn’t give them the cow. “n’ombe” is a cattle in khalanga language udzimanan’ombe.”
Some of the Man’ombe or Luvhimbi family members still practice their traditional ceremonies on the mountain.
“They still practice this thing even today. Because there’re some of our people who arrange Heritage Day every year during this month of September. They do their ceremony by slaughtering a goat or cattle or sheep then they went to make a braai there then they dance and all these things,” Munisi says.
The family clan used to perform rain-making rituals in a fountain on top of the mountain. Munisi says the rituals were performed by maidens under the supervision of elders.
“During the time of rain they used to meet together and they choose girls – the pre-matured girls then they choose them to collect the water from the river to the place where they called “mukamba”. So they put the water into those “mukamba” and the rain started to rain.”
The clan’s bid to claim chieftainship around the Man’ombe Mountain in the Giyani area has been unsuccessful. The clan however has its chieftainship at Ha-Luvhimbi, outside Thohoyandou.
Meanwhile, the Man’ombe, which is the nick-name for the Luvhimbis, has three hiking trails and wild animals including giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, kudu and impala.