Meeting The Himba Tribe

The Himba are an ethnic group of about 20,000 to 50,000 people living in north Namibia. Recently they have built two villages in in Kamanjab which have become tourist destinations. They are mostly nomadic, pastoral people, closely related to the Herero, and speak Otjihimba, a dialect of the Herero language.

The Himba wear little clothing, but the women are famous for covering themselves with otjize, a mixture of butter fat and ochre, possibly to protect themselves from the sun. The mixture gives their skins a reddish tinge. This symbolizes earth’s rich red colour and the 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.

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