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The Himba Tribe

An anthropological study of the Himba people.

Caitlyn Allen

on 13 February 2013

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Transcript of The Himba Tribe

The Himba Tribe By Caitlyn Allen Marital Practices:
The Himba Tribe has strict matrimonial views. Their marrigaes are arranged based upon spreading wealth and maintaing relationships with other tribes. Once married, women leave their homes and villages to live with their husbands, adopting the ways of his clan. The Himba are not monogamous so they can have multiple partners. Family Structures Before going through puberty, girls only have two hair braids, or weaves. After puberty, they may get more braids. Rites of Passage Women take care of the domestic aspects of the village. They stay home during the day, and occupy themselves by cooking, gardening, looking after the children, caring for livestock, and making clothes. The children help with these tasks. Gender Roles Political System:
The Himba people follow a Headman. The headman can speak to deceased ancestors by facing an open fire. The headman's hut is the only hut with an opening directly facing the open fire. Politics & Economy C hild Rearing:
When a Himba woman gives birth, she is accompanied by a group of other women, who help her with the birth. After giving birth, she goes back to her home, and stays in a hut next to the headman, and a sacred fire, that protects her and her baby from evil spirits, with her child for a bout a week. She then returns to her daily chores. The child lives with its mother until it is about 3 years old, then it goes and lives with its siblings. From the age of 3 on, the children are cared for by all the members of the family in the homestead. Between the ages of 10 and 12, female members of the tribe have their bottom four teeth knocked out to protect them from dangerous influences. Males are circumcised Single men in the Himba tribe only have one braid going down the back of their head. Once married, men must wrap their hair to form a hair turbin. Both boys and girls are cirmcumcised before reaching puberty. The Himbas believe that this makes them ready for wedding. Boys are expected to be silent during the circumcision, where as girls are encouraged to scream. Magic & Religion The Himba people believe that they were createdby one god. Belief System The Himba people believe in an after life. They believe that all ancestors are still able to be spoken to after they have crossed over. Law & Order The Himba tribe resolves conflict by addressing the headman. He is in charge of determining whether or not a tribal member is guilty of committing a crime. If the headman cannot decide by himself, he consults other headmen to find a solution. Concept of Warfare Art & Literature Music Men take care of the cattle. They milk them and then take them out to pasture, leaving the women, children and elders behind at the village. They believe in talking to their deceased ancestors to resolve problems. The Himba people believe that one god created everything. The god is very remote, and can only be communicated to through the spirits of male ancestors. The headman sits near the sacred fire during the day to talk to the ancestors about the problems of that family. The Himba believe that the "sacred fire" is the link between the living and the dead, allowing them to consult their ancestors about problems they are facing. The Himba people do believe in the concept of warfare. The last war that occured near Himba land was in the 1990's, and due to the scarce amount of modern weapons the war was not very advanced. The Himba people construct pots, pipes, and various other items for themselves. They believe that their physical appearance is a form of art. The Himba are known as the "red people, " for the red ochre, butter, and resin paste they wear on their skin. This mixture gives their skin a reddish color, and also protects them from the sun. Along with their skin, the braids they have in their hair play an important role in their physical appearance. The Himba don't really have any forms of written down literature, most of their stories and traditions are orated generation to generation. The Himba believe in using the sacred fire to talk to relatives. Works Cited http://traditionscustoms.com/people/himba-people http://www.newafricanfrontiers.com/countries/namibia/people.com
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