Himba

The Himba are the most recognizable of the Namibian cultural groups. The statuesque people cover their skin in a fat and ochre mixture to give them the characteristic complexion. Intricate hairstyles and jewellery enhance the intriguing appearance of the Himba. The Himba were part of the Herero tribe that crossed the Kunene River in the 16th century. Settling in the Kunene Region the Himba culture and tradition remained almost untouched by other cultures. The Himba are semi-nomadic pastoralists who move between settlements to find grazing for their goats and cattle. Traditional huts are made from saplings and palm leaves, which are then covered with mud and dung. The men erect the structure, while the women mix the clay and plaster the hut. A fire burns in the headman’s office day and night. The ochre mix protects the skin from sun and insects, while the hairstyle symbolizes maturity and marital status. The jewellery is crafted from shells and iron.

Those, who venture into the desolate Kunene Region, will still find Himba living a traditional life. Due to their sculptural beauty and ornate hairstyles especially the Himba woman are a popular motif for travel photographers.