WARNING: The Himba live topless, and as a result, some of these images
might be considered not safe for work (NSFW). Please return to the
homepage if you or your workplace finds cultural nudity inappropriate.
The Himba people are an indigenous ethnic group that lives in northern
Namibia and southern Angola in Africa. They are semi-nomadic
pastoralists who herd cattle and goats and rely on these animals for
their livelihoods. The Himba are known for their distinctive traditional
dress, which includes intricate jewelry, red ochre body paint, and
leather clothing. Despite increasing Westernization and modernization,
they have a strong cultural identity and maintain many of their
traditional beliefs, practices, and customs. In addition, the Himba are
known for their hospitality and warm, welcoming nature towards
outsiders, and their culture has fascinated many visitors to the region.
In January 2023, I visited a Himba orphan village just south of Etosha
National Park in Namibia, and it was an unforgettable experience. I
witnessed the Himba people demonstrate some of their traditional
practices and customs, including the women adorning themselves with
intricate jewelry and smearing their bodies with a mixture of ochre and
butterfat. I also watched the Himba perform a traditional dance.
The Himba's spiritual beliefs are central to their culture and inform
every aspect of their daily lives. One of the most important spiritual
rituals in Himba culture is the worship of ancestral spirits. This is
done through offerings of food, incense, and animal sacrifices and is
performed by a spiritual leader known as the OvaHimba. The Himba also
practice rainmaking rituals, which involve the OvaHimba communicating
with the ancestral spirits to bring rain to the land and ensure the
health of their livestock.