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Africa is a continent full of beauty. It’s beauty can be seen through its places and its people. Welcome to the Amazing People of Africa series where we take a look at some of the indigenous people of Africa. We will be looking at their lifestyle, culture and getting to learn about life through their knowledge and experiences.

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Today we will be looking at the Himba. The Himba are indigenous peoples with an estimated population of about 50,000 people living in northern Namibia and in southern Angola.

They are predominantly livestock farmers focusing on breeding sheep and goats but measure their wealth through the amount of cattle they own. In a world full of health issues and rising cases of obesity, The Himba stay clear of that by sticking to their traditional diet made up of sour milk and maize porridge. On rare occasions, such as weddings, the Himba do eat meat, but this is more an exception than a rule.

 

Let’s take a look at how they go about their daily life. Women and girls tend to perform more  of the labor-intensive work such as carrying water to the village, plastering their homes with  a traditional mixture of red clay soil and cow manure, collecting firewood, cooking and serving meals. They also are responsibe for milking the cows and goats.  The men’s main tasks are tending to the livestock, herding and animal slaughtering.

One of the most remarkable Himba traits is that women are not allowed to use water for washing. This applies to their bodies and their clothes.This may be due to droughts where water was scarce, and only men were  allowed access the water for washing purposes. So how do they go about hygiene, well by applying red ochre on their skin they also take a daily smoke bath. They will put some smouldering charcoal into a little bowl of herbs  and wait for the smoke to ascend. After that, they will bow over the smoking bowl, and due to the heat, they will start perspiring. For a full-body wash, they cover themselves with a blanket so that the smoke gets trapped underneath the fabric.

They also apply  red ochre cream that the Himba are famously known  for. This  is made by pounding the ochre stone  into small pieces. And then mixed with butter, slightly heated using smoke and applied on the skin. 

Essentially the Himba are making money off tourism, and that’s why they are allowing tourist to visit. Women stop what they’re doing and sell handcrafts to the tourists. 

 

The Namibian government has laws set in place about tribal privacy and how that should be kept. It also has strict rules about visiting the tribe and is sensitive to their needs.” There is an international law that states that Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites. All countries should be implementing this law in my opinion.

 

What other facts do you know about these beautiful people. What do you love about their culture? Let us know in the comment section below. Again if you have not yet subscribed please do and hit the notification bell. If you liked this video give it a thumbs up. Until the next video stay safe and I’’l see you then.

 

Hairstyles play a significant role within the Himba community and reflect marital status, age, wealth, and rank within the group. Hair braiding is a communal activity with the range of styles differing from tribe to tribe. Close relatives spend hours creating elaborate and socially symbolic hairstyles. The braids they create are often lengthened by including bits of woven hay, goat hair and  artificial hair extensions. Hair is also seen as a symbol of fertility amongst the Himba community where thick braids and lustrous hair indicates a women’s ability to bear healthy children.