Photographer's Note

Back fron a trip to the north of the country, I am begining to assimilate my thoughts on this area of Namibia. Visiting the Ovahimba people was both a delight and a priviledge, I have rarely met such warm and open-hearted people.
This lady is the headman's first wife (the marriage was arranged by his parents) and here she is pictured with her small child. Her eldest daughter has a child of her own and is visiting the family from Angola where she now lives. The mother has no idea how old the baby is, or indeed, how old she herself is, the OvaHimba mark the passing of time by the seasons not the calendar.

Babies are born outside the fence which encloses the village. The expectant mother will be helped by other women and after the birth they escort her and the new born infant back into the village to a shelter of Mopane wood branches which is built at the side of the main hut. This is a special area where mother and child will remain for a week. It is believed that here they will enjoy special protection by the spirits.
The child is then introduced to the ancestral spirits round the sacred fire by the headman. The child may receive several names from both the maternal and paternal lines and is introduced to the rest of the village. The Himba keeps no formal written records and this is a way of making sure information about the birth of the child is remembered.

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2806 W: 84 N: 6959] (31631)
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