The women in the Himba tribe changes their skin color to a red-brown color by using an ointment made of butter, ash, red ocher and herbs.
The ointment is to protect the women from the strong sunlight, but another reason for why they rub their selves in with this red-brown color is that they believe that it makes them more attractive. The brown color stands for the earth and the red color symbolizes blood.
They also do the same to their hair, which makes the Himba women the most exotic women of all the African tribes.
In this article you can read about the Himba tribe. They live in the north of Namibia, and are related to the Herero people. Traditionally they are a nomadic agricultural people. Here in Norway the tribe is most known because of a TV show named “Den store reisen” or “The great journey”.
They speak Otjihimba which is a dialect of the Herero language, so in that way they can have linguistic communication with their relations (The Herero people).
Their ways of living
The climate in the north of Namibia is very dry, and it’s sort of a desert. But still they have managed to keep much of their traditional lifestyle.
There are two clans in the Himba tribe. One of them is the father clan, and the other is the mother clan. They are also led by the oldest male in the clan.
The sons follow their fathers and when the daughters marry, they go to their husband’s clan and lives with them. But when it comes to inheritance, it is a lot different than we are used to, at least here in Norway. The son does not inherit money or things of “value”, but instead he can for example inherit his father’s female cousin. Some people would think that this is kind of madness, but that is the Himba tribe’s tradition, and money doesn’t have much of a value.
The daily life of the Himbas
Milking the cows is the women’s responsibility, but the Himbas also breed goats and cattle. The female community is very close, and one woman will always take care and watch after another woman’s child. The women also do a lot of work like getting water, watching out for the children and building homes. The men also do work, but they do all the political tasks and legal trials. They also go hunting at wild animals, and the fathers teach up their sons.
The tribe doesn’t wear many clothes, and the women go topless. The men just cover up their genitals, which the women also does. But as there was writer earlier in the article; they rub their selves in with a red-brown ointment, which protects them from the sun. It was also written that the brown color stands for the earth and the red color symbolizes blood. And blood symbolizes life, which makes this color consistent with the ideal beauty, according to the Himbas.
They believe in the god Mukuru, and are a monotheistic people. In every family they have a fire-keeper. The fire-keeper’s job is to always look out for the fire that every family has. The fire is to communicate with Mukuru and the ancestors of Mukuru. Mukuru is often busy in a distant world, and then the ancestors are his representatives. The difference between Mukuru and his ancestors is that Mukuru never courses, just blesses, but his ancestors does both.