The Himba Beat

We were lucky to spend several days with Himba tribal people in several villages.  Their lifestyle is dependent upon the season and we visited early in the dry season where the women and children spend their time tending to the goats in and around the village.  This worked very much to our advantage allowing us to build good relationships with the women and play with the children.  This familiarity leads to more relaxed subjects and much better pictures.  The men and older boys leave for days or daily to tend the cattle which represent the majority of a families wealth.  The cattle are driven as far as necessary to find food; and increasingly difficult task as the drought extends.  Through our trip we saw few men.  In the rainy season the women will grow corn, pumpkin, beans and in some villages water melon.  The corn and pumpkin are dried to extend their consumption through the year.

Everything about the Himba is a significant contrast to our lifestyle, from their clothing and food to how their society functions.  Polygamy is normal with men taking as many as four wives, with each requiring a dowry to the wive’s family.  In Himba family culture, the offspring from the wife all belong to the husband.  This is significant as the wives are free to sleep around following marriage and any children regardless of the father belong to the husband.  It is interesting how the emotions that we associate with marriage such as jealously don’t play such a strong role in Himba families given the prevailing beliefs and culture.

Much of the Himba family culture was evident in Southern Ethiopia and one behavior area is exactly the same.  They love to dance and sing!  At one village we arranged for the women to come back in the evening to dance for us.  For some this would have been a chore.  For these women it was pure joy and boy could they hold down a beat and let everything go!

Namib Day 5.5-70 Namib Day 5.5-81-2 Namib Day 5.5-90-2 Namib Day 5.5-99 Namib Day 6-55-2 Namib Day 6-10-2 Namib Day 5.5-96 Namib Day 5.5-7-2 Namib Day 5.5-26-2

3 thoughts

  1. Beautiful photos, Andy, and very interesting how an emotion like jealousy that we take to be human nature is absent in this social structure. Thanks for another terrific piece.

  2. Andy, i LOVE your images!!! I’ve just started to look at them finally! And I still have more to see. Anyway what a great time you must have had. Certainly made me think about Ethiopia. I hope you’re doing really well, and know you will wow everyone with your work!

    Just gave a two hour talk to a group of couple of weeks ago about Kenya and Tanzania. The second hour concerned the poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa, and I had lots of facts (15 hours of research). Breaks my heart what China is doing…

    I’m off with five of my friends for Tanzania next January. Can’t wait because it will be three years since I’ve been there. It’s all been in Kenya lately… Take care and all the best!

    Am ready to crash but I had to write you!

    • Hi Barbara, thanks for the comments and it is wonderful to hear from you. Namibia gave me my first experience of African animals in the wild and it was inspiring. I can completely understand and now share your love with Africa. Thank you for continuing to actively highlight poaching, losing these animals will be a catastrophe.

      Take care!

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