Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 31, visiting the Himba , Namibia, Africa

The Himba are an ethnic group of about 20,000 to 50,000 people living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene region (formerly Kaokoland). They are a nomadic, pastoral people who breed cattle and goats.

The responsibility of milking the cows lies with the women. Women take care of the children, and one woman will take care of another woman's children. Women tend to perform more labor-intensive work than men do, such as carrying water to the village and building homes. Men handle the political tasks and legal trials.

The Himba wear little clothing, but the women are famous for covering themselves with a mixture of butter fat, ochre, and herbs to protect themselves from the sun.

The mixture gives their skins a reddish tinge. The mixture symbolizes earth's rich red color and the blood that symbolizes life, and is consistent with the Himba ideal of beauty. Women braid each other's hair and cover it in their ochre mixture (called otjize in their language).

Modern clothes are scarce, but generally go to the men when available. Traditionally both men and women go topless and wear skirts or loincloths made of animals skins in various colors. Adult women wear beaded anklets to protect their legs from poisonous animal bites.

1 comment:

sandy said...

Hey Sandy,

I have heard about it, but not sure whether its real. After watching, I came to know that still there are people who does not have amenities like us.

Keep posted me with such info.