The Himba people who are also regarded as the Omuhimba or Ovahimba people are indigenous people of Namibia living in northern part of Namibia especially in the Kunene region.
What makes this tribe so popular has to do with their way of living, clothing, economy, and interesting customs. One of the grapevines is that they offer guests sex for free and another point is that they adorned every newborn baby with bead necklaces. But there are other interesting facts about them.
The Himba people practically live in seclusion and are wary of external contacts. Though they engage in cooperation with neighboring tribes; they resist any form of contamination to their beliefs and culture.
The Himba people are predominantly farmers. They raise different breeds of livestock especially goats, cattle, sheep, etc. The women are largely preoccupied with collecting firewood, sourcing for fresh water for consumption, cooking and serving meals and engaging in other forms of artisan-ship.
Some of them are socially inclined and religious, worshiping the gods of their ancestors. The Himba people believed in polygamy and many of their young girls married off at an early age. This is not peculiar to them as most traditional African tribes still practice this custom.
They don’t bath with water. One of the reasons why the Himba people don’t bath with water is because of their harsh climatic conditions as they live in one of the most extreme environments on earth. The harsh desert climate and the unavailability of portable water prevent them from having a ‘normal’ water bath. Also according to the elderly this dates back to the great droughts where water was scarce and only men were allowed access to water for washing purposes. They looked extremely pretty with their traditional clothes, some of which exposed their bodies especially the women.
Their lack of bathing however has not resulted into lack of personal hygiene as they apply red ochre on their skin and partake in a daily smoke bath in order to maintain their hygiene.
They will put some smoldering charcoal into a little bowl of herbs – mostly leaves and little branches of Commiphora trees and wait for the smoke to ascend. Thereafter, they will bow over the smoking bowl and due to the heat, they will start perspiring. For a full body wash, they cover themselves with a blanket so that the smoke gets trapped underneath the fabric.
The Himba people are one of the warmest tribes in Africa and are courteous to strangers and visitors alike. They frown at anything that will threaten their cultural values and traditions.