Africa

The Himba: Namibia's iconic red women

Updated 10:27 PM ET, Tue October 23, 2012
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The Himba women of northern Namibia are famous for their use of otjize, a paste of butter, fat and red ochre, which they apply to their hair and skin. Courtesy Kamili Safaris
Otjize sometimes contains aromatic resin from a local shrub to provide an appealing fragrance. It is applied by Himba women every morning, but never by men. CNN
Some have speculated the otjize is applied for sun protection or to ward off insects, but the Himba say it is for aesthetic reasons. Courtesy Kamili Safaris
Himba children stay with their mother until the age of three, when they live with their siblings and are cared for by all members of the village. Courtesy Kamili Safaris
Hikuminue Kapika, chief of the Himba village of Omarumba on northern Namibia. He leads a village of about 20 people and inherited his chiefly title from his father. CNN
Himba homes are round structures constructed of sapling posts, which bound together to form a conical roof plastered in mud and dung. Courtesy Kamili Safaris
Every morning, Himba women wake at or before dawn, apply their otjize, then milk the livestock. Courtesy Kamili Safaris
Once the milking is done, the young men of the village herd the animals out to graze. CNN
The holy fire, or "okuruwo," is the most important feature of Himba religious life. It provides a connection to their god and ancestors, and is never allowed to be extinguished, with an ember brought into the chief's home every night. CNN