Today we are leaving Twywelfountain in the morning and heading to Etosha National Park. While we are just passing by the Kaokoland in the North Western part of Namibia, we suddenly recognize a group of about 20 people of the Himba tribe very close to our road.
It is a group of a few women and mature men and a lot of kids.
In the moment when they see our jeep driving into their direction ,they start welcoming us very friendly and clapping their hands, jumping and dancing – it is a dance full of joy and happiness !
We just leave our jeep and take our presents with us – some dried meat, eggs, sandwiches, salad and some fruit and some clothes for the kids.
The group is so happy …
The first settlements of the Himba people can be traced back in this region to the early 16th century when they crossed the Angolan border and chose Kaokoland as their new homeland.
These nomadic people are hunters and gatherers.
Depending on the time of the year, rains and the grass condition, they move with their herds to different watering and grazing places inside this large wilderness . In each new grazing location, they build huts, that are made from a mixture of mud and cow dung, plastered over a wooden frame. In their huts they try to cool down and withstand the extremes of temperature in their native lands.
Both Himba men and women are known for the care they take in wearing their traditional attire. Clothes, hairstyle and jewellery are significant to the Himba tribe , and are part of their tradition and culture. Even newborn babies are adorned with bead necklaces. When the children are a little older, bangles made of beaten copper and shells are added.
The red ochre cream that the Himba are famous for is made by pounding the ochre stone into small pieces and mix it with butter and apply it on the skin. The proud Himba woman makes use of this reddish cream for the beauty care of her skin and her hair and as a kind of sun protection. The cream lends the body a beautiful intense nice reddish shine.
The reddish color also symbolizes the earth’s red color and blood.
The tall and slender Himba woman has also unique hairstyles which require hours of preparation. It involves braiding the hair and covering it in with the mixture of butter and ochre cream. However, as long as she is a girl, she is entitled to make only two braids, which generally becomes more, once she gets married. After she gives birth to a child, there is another addition to her hairstyle, which constitutes an ornamented headdress made of animal skin. Other than their unique hairstyle, the social status and importance of an individual also rests upon the jewelry they flaunt. Significantly, cone shell of the main necklace of a married woman stands for marriage. They also put on an elaborate headpiece known as an Erembe, made from sheepskin, and cover their ankles with iron bracelets.
The traditional Himba which consists of about 50.000 people are actually living in isolation in Northern Namibia refusing any kind of modern society .
In todays world they resist change and just try to preserve their unique African cultural heritage and values.
For this reason we are more than happy and glorious that they perceived us as friends with such warmth , heartfulness and pureness.
Probably they could feel that we are just approaching very peacefully and trying to share some beautiful moments with them which have been really unforgettable to us.
Especially the kids and the youngsters have been a unique experience for us since they are so innocent, natural and so warm!