The Himba people in wonderful Namibia
The Ovahimbas (plural of Himba) are indigenous peoples. A tribe of tall and slender herders.For hundreds of years they have lived in scattered areas, in northern Namibia, in the Kunene region (formerly Kaokoland) and on the other side of the Kunene River in Angola.
They are covering their bodies with otjize, a mixture of butter fat and ochre, possibly to protect themselves from the sun. Or as a himba woman told me: it’s like having a shower and doing your make-up every morning. The mixture gives their skins a reddish tinge.
For centuries, necklaces and bracelets have been made of shells, leather and copper.
Married women wears the large “ohumba” shell around their neck and a small crown (“erembe” leather headdress) made of goat skin on their heads. Adult women wear beaded anklets to protect their legs from venomous animal bites.
Girls wear their hair in two braids over their forhead (“ozondatu”). When reaching puberty, they adopt a hairstyle with a multitude of tiny braids that have been ‘waxed’ with otjize.
Himba boys can be recognized by a small plaited pony tail that runs from crown to forehead. Boys that wish to marry have the same tail, but wear it tied in a bow.
A married man wears his hair in a turban.
(Click on photos to enlarge)