The Himba are often called the Ovahimba or Omhimba people who live in the Kunene region of Namibia.
Their elaborately braided hair, skin and clothes covered in a mixture of ground red rock and butter, the women of Namibia’s Himba tribe are a striking sight
But while the women sport hairstyles of varying degrees of complexity, the men cover their heads with turbans from the moment they marry and never remove them; instead using an arrow-like implement to scratch the hair beneath the turban.
The Himba women are famous for their fascinating dreadlocks, and while you might have known that they used ground ochre to create the stunning red look, you might not have known what else goes into it. They rub the ground ochre with butter and goat hair or Indian hair extensions to create the unique styles.
The red ochre that Himba people wear on their skin isn’t only to look cool or differentiate between the men and women, it also serves a biological purpose. The red ochre and butter paste that they wear is called otjize and actually cleans the skin when there is no water, protects against mosquito bites, and keeps them cooler in the hot climate.
The Himba tribe is polygamous and the men often have multiple wives at the same time. Many of the Himba women are married off as soon as puberty starts, most in arranged marriages. On average, most husbands have two wives.
They base their wealth on the number of cattle they own. Cows aren’t the only thing the Himba people farm though — they also breed sheep, goats and chickens. However, they don’t exactly eat much of the animals.