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Photographer's Note

Himbas, numbering around 50,000 people, are an ethnic group living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene region, formerly Kaokoland.

They are a nomadic, pastoral people, closely related to the Herero, and speak the same language. While the Herero changed their life-style under the influence of European missionaries, the Himba have managed to maintain much of their traditional lifestyle.

The Himba wear little clothing, but the women are famous for covering themselves with a mixture of butter fat, ochre and herbs to protect themselves from the sun. The mixture gives their skins a reddish tinge and symbolizes earth's rich red color and the blood that symbolizes life, and is consistent with the Himba ideal of beauty. Women braid each other's hair and cover it in their ochre mixture.

Modern clothes are scarce, but generally go to the men when available. Traditionally both men and women go topless and wear skirts or loincloths made of animals skins in various colors. Boys are generally circumcised before puberty, to make them eligible for marriage. Marriages are arranged at a daughter's birth and usually take place when the girl is between about 14 and 17.

The Himba breed cattle and goats. The responsibility of milking cows lies with the women. Women take care of their own and other women抯 children. They tend to perform more labor-intensive work than men do, such as carrying water to the village and building homes.

In the 1980s it appeared the Himba way of life was coming to a close. A severe drought killed ninety percent of their cattle and many gave up their herds and became refugees in the town of Opuwo living in slums on international relief.

Source: Himba

This picture was taken in a village near Epupa Falls. The grandmother was taking care of the little one while the mother was cooking outside.

...

The Epupa Falls are created by the same Kunene River on the border of Angola and Namibia, in the Kaokoland area of the Kunene Region. The river is 0.5 km wide and drops in a series of waterfalls spreading over 1.5 km, with the greatest single drop being 37 m. The name "Epupa" is a Herero word for "foam", in reference to the foam created by the falling water.

Source: Epupa

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 266 W: 105 N: 604] (3931)
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