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The Himba Ideology - Essay Example

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This essay concerns the life a small group of cattle herders, the Himba, who reside in and around the settlement of Otutati in northwestern Namibia. For more than five centuries, the Himba people have breathed the hot and filmy air of the Earth’s oldest desert…
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Download file to see previous pages As animals are consecrated to the Himba, the passing of an elder is the only momentous occasion for cattle to be slaughtered. By relocating ancestral fire to the exact place of burial, community life is physically and centered internally on the fire. The Himba consistently migrate back to sacred sites and burials, taking with them ashes of their sacred fires (Salopek). Ritualistically blessing each morning’s cattle milking at the fire through their ancestors, the Himba are spiritually reinforced and sustained each day by their cattle, ancestors, and Creator (Crandall 72).
The Himba are outstanding people to look at. The women are topless and clad in mini-skirts made of goat skins decorated with shells and jewelry made of iron and copper. The men wear goatskin loin cloths. Both men and women smear their skin with a mixture of rancid butter, ash, and ochre to guard them against the harsh desert climate. The paste (Otjize) is often mixed with the aromatic resin of the Omuzumba shrub, a little like adding cologne to a suntan lotion. As well as protection from the sun, the deep red color is a highly needed look in the Himba culture. It is certainly eye-catching and very beautiful. The Himba use the same paste (Otjize) on their hair which is long and plaited into complex designs. You can tell the marital status of a Himba lady by the way she puts her hair. The men also change their hairstyle to denote their social position. A married man, for example, wears his hair in a turban. The leather used is not treated, so it a pretty smelly. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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