Idea #534 – Meeting the Himbas people in Namibia
The Himba people are native of the region of the Nile, in Egypt. Himbas is historically of distant cousins of the Massai. In the term of a migration of several centuries, they arrived to Zimbabwe, in Angola and in Namibia, where they would have settled with the Hereros in the XVth century, according to narratives. They lived as hunters and nomadic pickers there – from where their nickname “the beggars”, until the arrival of German colons. After 1920, the South Africans assign them a reserve. They cannot either make however graze their cattle freely or have a practice of trade. Little by little, they reconstruct and become, in the 1970s, the ministers the richest in Africa. In 1980, a terrible drought and a war setting the South African army to the freedom fighters of the “SWAPO” bring to the destruction of their livestocks and throwing them in a very big precariousness.
Traditionally, the woman Himbas dyes his skin red with a solution with fat of cow and powder of red ochre. This ointment also allows them to protect itself from the heat of the sun, from the drought of the air and from insects. Their hair is combed in smoother and thick plaits, coated also with the same substance. The men carry they, after the circumcision a ponytail with the rest of the shaved skull, which they recover after the marriage of a cotton hat.
Himbas would be at present between ten thousand and fifteen thousand in Namibia, living mainly on their pastoral activity. They live in camps spread in all Kaokoland, with their herds of cows and goats.
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