Muharukua Family

Village: Ovinyange

Population: 120

Elder: Veripi Muharukua,
Kayoo Muharukua

18°01'50.6"S 13°43'22.7"E

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About the family

Each brother built his own village.

Ovinyange is made up of two villages, one small (20 people) and one large (100 people). They are 517 meters apart and separated by the C43 highway. The villages were built by two brothers, Vezuvanyo and Ngeendepi (who was the regional chief).

Uamurongo Muharukua

Uamurongo is a poison that people put into natural springs to kill elephants and other wild animals. The name was suggested by her great-uncle.

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Okutuaza Muharukua

Her name means: "Where we came from/the place we left our ancestors". She was named by her maternal grandmother.

Ueikotokera Muharukua

Ueikotokera's name means: "He replied" — a reference to an ancestor answering a prayer.

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Across the road

Life today is very hard.If there is no rain,our life is nothing.

This village is larger, with over 100 residents. It was founded when Vezuvanyo decided to build a village across the road from his brother’s compound. His widow Kayoo Muharukua is the elder of the village. Her son Kautorona inherited some of the regional chief’s responsibilities after the chief died. He is also a veterinarian and one of his duties is to inspect cattle for foot and mouth disease.

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A shrinking village

As the chief you decide on everything.

The founder and elder of the smaller village, Ngeendepi Muharukua, died in 2008. He was the regional chief of more than 200 villages. When he died most of his 12 wives returned with their offspring to the villages where they were born. Only 20 people, two of his wives among them, now remain in this part of Ovinyange.


For a woman,everything you know is taught by your mother.

Veripi Muharukua built many of the huts in the village. Now she repairs them with a mix of fresh cattle dung and ash. She learned to build a hut by watching her grandmothers when she was a child, and she built her first hut when she was 15. It takes one day to build the wooden structure, three days to plaster the inside, and three days to cover the outside with the dung mixture.

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Funeral of a chief

Whenever they milk the cattle you cannot use it until the head of the family, the elder, drinks first and gives permission.

When a village elder passes away, his funeral procession may attract hundreds of guests from surrounding villages and even faraway towns. Chiefs are buried in marked graves that become the sites of religious rituals, with visitors coming to ask their dead ancestors for advice and guidance.

Life in Ovinyange

Muharukua family members

About the project

MyHeritage is proud to present Tribal Quest, a unique mission to record and preserve the family histories of tribal people around the world. As a global leader in helping people discover, preserve and share their family history, we believe that every story counts. Across a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds, our lives and family traditions are shaped by the generations that came before us, and we all have much to learn from our ancestors. People living in remote locations with limited access to modern technology don't have the tools to digitize their rich family histories, and they are often left unrecorded. Our vision is to help create an ever-expanding database of these invaluable stories. Our teams will visit tribal communities around the world in order to use the tools we have developed to help preserve their family histories for future generations.

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