aga szydlik, himba tribe

Himba Tribe | Namibia

aga szydlik, himba tribe

Life, Culture and Rituals of the Iconic Red Himba Tribe

Himba tribe is indigenous to Kunene Region (Kaokoland) in northern Namibia and southern Angola. Himba tribe is well recognized for intense red colouring of their hair and bodies with an otjize paste, which is also considered a sign of beauty. The otjize mixture is scented with aromatic resins, deep in orange colour, which is symbolizing the earth’s red colour and blood—the essence of life.

aga szydlik, himba tribe
Crowned beauty

After the bovine epidemic swept through the Kaokoland region, the tribe decided to move south to avoid imminent starvation, causing the split from Herero tribe. Despite famine and hunger, some members decided to stay and ask their neighbours for help to survive.  Impoverished by disease, cattle raiders and hunger, many Himba fled to Angola, where they were called Ova-Himba, meaning 'beggars' in Otjiherero language.

Iconic red woman

Himba women are considered as one of the most beautiful in the world and are very proud of their traditional clothes and hairstyle, Himba devotes significant time for their beauty needs, first, the otjize is used to completely cover women's hair and body. Functioning as a sunscreen, insect repellent and beautifying agent. The otjize is rubbed all over, including not only on their skin and hair but also their hair, clothes and an extensive collection of jewellery.

aga szydlik, himba tribe

Elaborate outfits of Himba women are made of goatskin skirts and are embellished with shells, iron, and copper jewellery. The Erembe crown is made of cow or goat leather and is placed on the girl’s head after she’s married for a year or has a child. Women wear a large white shell necklace or heavy necklaces made from copper or iron wire.

aga szydlik, himba tribe
https://vimeo.com/321114456

Goat hair and mud

From the time a Himba girl is born, her hairstyle will identify her place in society, indicating age, clan and marital status of a woman.

aga szydlik, himba tribe

The hair is first lengthened with straw woven together with hair extensions to create dreadlocks, which are then covered in otjize and finished with goat hair, added to give them well recognized pom-pom look.

aga szydlik, himba tribe

A young girl typically has two plaits of braided hair (ozondato), the form of which is decided by the clan (oruzo) she descended on her father's side. A young girl who hasn’t reached puberty and will display two braids at the front of her head, if a girl is a twin, she will wear only one single braid, indicating she is only one half of a pair of twins. At the puberty, girls will wear their braids up front covering their face, letting people know that they are not ready to marry yet.

aga szydlik, himba tribe

When a young woman is ready to marry, same locks will be braided toward the back of the head, allowing potential suitors to see her face. When a woman has been married for a year or has had a child, she will wear the erembe headdress on top of her head.

aga szydlik, himba tribe

The smallest children tend to have shaved heads, although, some might have special haircuts to indicate their clan. New-born babies are adorned with bead necklaces, bangles made of beaten copper and shells are added when the children are a little older.

Love and marriage

Himba people practice polygamy, with both men and women being allowed to have multiple partners as long as the arrangement is open and agreeable by all parties involved. Men tend to have several wives, especially if they are rich in cattle, as the animals’ ownership is passed down from mother to daughter. The more cattle a woman owns, the greater her status and that of her family. Marriage is important in Himba culture, but extramarital relations are encouraged by families.

aga szydlik, himba tribe

When their husbands are away with the livestock, it is common for the women who stay behind to have "affairs" with other men. Egalitarian in their social structure, all tribe members enjoying full equality of rights, decisions being split between men and women, with an overall authority in the hands of the men but economic issues decided by the women. With the clear division of roles, women have the job of tending to children and livestock, which is led by men the to pasture for the day.

aga szydlik, himba tribe

People of the Earth

Himba, like most indigenous people, live on what nature provides for them, their diet consisting mostly of porridge, meat being reserved only for special celebrations. When the pastures run dry, the tribe will travel to a new location, where their livestock can feed. Himba homes are simple huts, made from a mixture of earth and cattle dung and contain little beyond a bed and few kitchen tools.

aga szydlik, himba tribe

Memories

aga szydlik, aga szydlik photographer

Links | Publications

https://www.dodho.com/colour-of-earth-and-blood-by-aga-szydlik/?utm_content=bufferc7146&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Sources

https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/4827/asc-1293873-064.pdf?sequence=1
https://www.association-kovahimba.net/en/the-himbas-history
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himba_peoplehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himba_people
http://www.philosophy.dept.shef.ac.uk/culture&mind/people/scelzab2/

If by any chance I have omitted your website as the source of reference, please accept my apologies and please email me, so I'm able to make necessary corrections, after all, I'm just a human........