Phillip Martin Art

The Africa Collection

Himba Girl

The Himba live far off the beaten path in northern Namibia, but it is worth the trek. Both men and women have unique hair styles and jewelry. I saw one young man with a necklace made of animal ears. If that does it for you, there are plenty of hog farms in Ohio.

It was the Himba women who fascinated me.  They took a mixture of butter (I think) as well as red earth and smeared it on their hair, skin and clothing. Everything on them had the same reddish-orange hue. I was told that Himba women never bathed. I'm not sure how that tradition ever started. There must be some kind of reason for it. I never learned it. I saw Himba men bathing in the river, but never the women.

As unique as the bathing tradition might be, it was topped by another celebration. A Himba wedding party left me speechless. The bride and groom were cousins and madly in love with each other. Well, they were as madly in love as five year old children can be. I kid you not. And just in case you are wondering, when the day’s festivities were over, both bride and groom went home to live with their parents until some other date a little farther in the future.


Continue on to Africa Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 or back to the Portraits Home Page.