The ancient tribe of semi-nomadic herders from the barren lands of Namibia known as the Himba have been a favorite for photographers. Their fame for ornate styles have spread beyond the remote, Kunene region where they live, mostly tending livestock. A practice not carried out by men, the Himba women apply a paste of butter, fat and red ochre (sometimes scented with aromatic potion) called otjize each morning to their skin and hair, giving them a distinctive red hue. There has been much speculation about the origins of this practice, with some claiming it is to protect their skin from the sun, or repel insects. But the Himba consider this an aesthetic act of beautification, a sort of traditional make-up they apply every morning when they wake.This practice has survived generation of war, farming and drought.
They are majorly pastoral people and are very welcoming to visitors coming to witness their way of life.
The homes of the Himba, who number between 30,000 and 50,000, are either round structures constructed of sapling posts, with a dome looking roof which is plastered in mud and dung or simple huts built with mud.
Whether a protective measure against the hot environment or a just a cultural trait, Namibia’s red women in the Himba tribe have a unique sense of fashion and style which has become an iconic image of Africa.