Boundless Beauty

by Lizette Feris

10 Zebras at Etosha

The Caprivians, are so apt to their environment that during wet months their transport is mokoros, a type of canoe propelled by a stick. This sticks out like sore thumb in such a dry, arid and desert country.

Settled along the Angolan border is the Ovambo group, the single largest national group in Namibia. Their economic system is based on agriculture, cattle raising and fresh water fishing. Ovambo people have a king (Chamba) and the Kingdom is divided into two districts. Here religious beliefs and the general structure and evolution of the universe are rooted in the culture and tradition that Kalunga (God), the Creator without whom nothing exists is alive. The Oshipe Shomahangu, harvesting ceremony is to give praise and thanks to the Creator for the food blessings. Efifino Leengago and the Omaongo ceremonies are also part of the festivities, during which time anyone can suck out the juice from a marula fruit and special songs are sang throughout the celebrations, this is where the Ongama (drum) comes to life. All these festivities are in honour of God, whom controls time and bestows upon his children new seasons, and also to bring together the communities in jubilation of His greatness.

The Northwestern corner of Namibia is home to the Himba people in Koakaland who still migrate with their animals to the waterholes during seasons. Their livestock consists of cattle and goats. Fires and livestock enclosures are key signatures of the Himbas and closely related to their ancestor worship.

11 Himba women

The women groom themselves by covering their bodies in a mixture of butterfat and scented ochre, perceived as the ideal of beauty. Wearing little else but this mixture known as otjize, skirts made of animal skins and beaded ankle bracelets these women are beautiful in their own skin.

The simple life of the traditions in the North of Namibia is being threatened by the influx of tourists to the areas that are introducing new concepts to these villagers. Natural beauty has always been within, and once that has been accepted the outer beauty is evident too. This area of Namibia is a true heritage and sense of pride for the various other groups who are more modern and westernised and who look to the outer things to bring beauty.

The natural beauty of the Namibian people lies in simple acceptance, and appreciation of their undisturbed paradise.