Hidden away in Northern Namibia, this indigenous tribe continues to resist the encroaching tourism industry – despite drawing fascinated travellers from around the world. The Himba are indigenous peoples with an estimated population of about 50,000 people living in northern Namibia, and on the other side of the Kunene River in Angola.
They speak OtjiHimba which belongs to the language family of the Bantu.
The OvaHimba are predominantly livestock farmers who breed fat-tailed sheep and goats, but count their wealth in the number of their cattle.They also grow and
farm rain-fed crops such as maize and millet.
Only occasionally, and opportunistically, are the livestock sold for cash. Non-farming businesses, and other cash remittances make up a very small portion of the OvaHimba livelihood.
Both the Himba men and women wears a traditional clothing that befits their living environment in the Kaokoland, the hot semi-arid climate. It’s simply a skirt-like clothing made from calfskins.Occasionally sandals for footwear, with foot soles often made from old car tires.
The OvaHimba cover themselves with otjize paste, a cosmetic mixture of butterfat and ochre pigment, to cleanse the skin over long periods due to water scarcity and protect themselves from the extremely hot and dry climate as well as against mosquito insect bites.The cosmetic mixture, often perfumed with the aromatic resin of the omuzumba shrub, gives their skin and hair plaits a distinctive orange or red-tinge characteristic, as well as texture and style. Otjize is considered foremost a highly desirable aesthetic beauty cosmetic, symbolizing earth’s rich red color and blood the essence of life, and is consistent with the OvaHimba ideal of beauty.
Hairstyle and jewelry play a significant role among the OvaHimba, it indicates age and social status within their community.
Both boys and girls are circumcised before reaching puberty. During the circumcision boys should be silent and girls are encouraged to scream. The Himba believe that this act makes them ready for wedding. As soon the girl is born, her future husband is decided. They get married when the girl is between 14 and 17 years old.
Himba tribespeople are protected from overexposure by strict government-imposed guidelines on visiting their communities. Now you have the possivility to visit a museum called Ovahimba Living Museum, located between the Ovahimba River in the north of Namibia. A place where you can interactively experience the traditional culture of the Ovahimba. A place for guests, the children of their community and at the same time it´s a income generation institution.