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Namibian Porridge: Oshithima

Namibian Porridge: Oshithima

Oshithima, a traditional Namibian food resembling pap or porridge from Southern Africa, is made from maize meal. It is a common side dish with meat, veggies, or sauce and is a staple item in many Namibian homes.

It has a special position in Namibian cuisine. It continues to be an essential component of Namibian cuisine and has been a source of nourishment and comfort for families for millennia. The Ovambo, Herero, and Damara tribes of Namibia's indigenous people, who have been making and consuming this dish for millennia, are the originators of oshithima. During the 16th century, European colonists introduced maize, a crucial component of Oshithima, to the area. Its cultivation and subsequent introduction to the local diet had a big impact on Namibian cooking.

Preparation Time

45 minutes


2 cups maize meal (white or yellow)

4 cups water



  • Boil water in a large heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Mix the maize meal with a little cold water in a bowl to make a smooth, runny paste. 
  • Gradually pour the maize meal mixture into the boiling water, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or a traditional wooden stick called an "omuhimba." Stirring is crucial to prevent lumps from forming.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the maize meal mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. 
  • Add salt to taste. 
  • Keep simmering and stirring for an additional 15 minutes 
  • Once the Oshithima has reached the desired consistency and is fully cooked, remove it from the heat.
  • Oshithima is traditionally shaped into a dome or a mound. Wet your hands with water to prevent the maize meal from sticking, and shape it into a round mound on a serving plate.
  • Oshithima is typically served hot.