Category Archives: Namibia

What would happen if you didn’t shower (no bath) for your life?

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1990 following the Namibian War of independence, Namibia had registered her presence in the global arena.

Namibia is a member of important global organisations including the African Union, United Nations, South Africa Development Council, just to mention a few. Also, apart from the glorious mountains that dotted the beautiful landscape of the country, the Fish River Canyon, gold-grass plains of the Kalahari, wildlife such as the black rhinos, elephants, big cats, etc. all make Namibia an interesting tourist destination.
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Apart from all these, however, the spectacular nature and custom of the Himba tribe in Namibia have brought her to international spotlight especially in recent times.

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The Himba people who are also regarded as the Omuhimba or Ovahimba people are indigenous people of Namibia living in northern part of Namibia especially in the Kunene region. Their numbers are big enough to form a city-state.

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What makes this tribe so popular has to do with their way of living, clothing, economy, and interesting customs. One of the grapevines is that they offer guests sex for free and another point is that they adorned every newborn baby with bead necklaces. But there are other interesting facts about them.

Just like the Japanese who lived in isolation for much of their history under the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Himba people practically live in seclusion and are wary of external contacts. Although they engage in cooperation with neighbouring tribes; they would resist any form of contamination to their beliefs and culture. This is quite curious in a nuclear age.

The Himba people are predominantly farmers. They raise different breeds of livestock especially goats, cattle, sheep, etc. The women are largely preoccupied with collecting firewood, sourcing for fresh water for consumption, cooking and serving meals and engaging in other forms of artisanship.

Some of them are socially inclined and religious, worshipping the gods of their ancestors. The Himba people believed in polygamy and many of their young girls married off at an early age. This is not peculiar to them as most traditional African tribes still practice this custom.

It is not the case however that they don’t bath even if it’s not with water. One of the reasons why the Himba people don’t bath with water is because of their harsh climatic conditions as they live in one of the most extreme environments on earth. The harsh desert climate and the unavailability of portable water prevent them from having a ‘normal’ water bath. Yet, they looked extremely pretty with their traditional clothes, some of which exposed their bodies especially the women.

Their lack of bathing however has not resulted into lack of personal hygiene as they apply red ochre on their skin and partake in a daily smoke bath in order to maintain their hygiene.

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Reuben Coussement described this process, “they will put some smouldering charcoal into a little bowl of herbs (mostly leaves and little branches of Commiphora trees) and wait for the smoke to ascend. Thereafter, they will bow over the smoking bowl and due to the heat, they will start perspiring. For a full body wash, they cover themselves with a blanket so that the smoke gets trapped underneath the fabric.”

In all of these, however, the Himba people are one of the warmest tribes in Africa and are courteous to strangers and visitors alike. They however frown at anything that will threaten their cultural values and traditions. Their frustrations at some interventions by the Namibian government, governments of Norway and Iceland, among others are evidence of this fact

Reposted from: FA2FA

Oriented by: Shakir Essa

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Meet the Namibian actor who helped gross $60m for the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ and was paid $300

Meet the Namibian actor who helped gross $60m for the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must be crazy
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Nǃxau Toma_Photo: Facebook
Born in Namibia and a member of the San also known as Bushmen, N!xau Toma, famously called the African bush farmer, was an actor who spoke fluent Jul’hoan, Otjiherero, Tswana as well as some Afrikaans which are dominant languages in the south of Africa.

He shot to worldwide prominence after an appearance as the lead role of the 1980 comedy film, The Gods Must Be Crazy. He became one of the most improbable and reluctant international celebrity after taking the role.
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N!xau Toma_Photo: Realtime News
In the movie, N!xau appearing as Xixo portrayed a gentle leader of a local tribal clan of Khoisan people. He was also a sober bushman with a comic smile who discovers a Coca-Cola bottle thrown out of an airplane. Upon discovering the bottle, he sees it as an alien object and it sets off into a comedy of errors.

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Scenes from The Gods Must Be Crazy_Photo: Egypt today

This comic role endeared him to viewers especially those in Asia who were convinced that he makes three eccentric movie sequels. The movie grossed $60 million dollars and according to Jamie Uys, the South African director who discovered the actor, N!xau, did not know the value of paper money and he let his first $300 wages blow away.

Despite his inability to attract heavy financial resource in the first movie, he had learned the value of money and demanded several hundred thousand dollars before agreeing to a recast in the film. He insisted that the money was needed to build a cinder-block house with electricity and a water pump for his family comprising of three wives and their children.

With patience and good humor, he toured the world and after 10 years of the glamour life, he stressed that he has seen enough of the “civilized” world, hence his decision to return to his home in the Kalahari.

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Scenes from The Gods Must Be Crazy_Photo: African Film Festival
N!xau uses the local dialect when filming, however, the interpretation and interlocking plots were explained by a narrator. He made it clear that he enjoyed the film and was excited to see himself on screen.

Mr. Uys was criticized for being cruel to N!xau and not taking him out of his environment but to his defence, he said he [N!xau] was born to act. ”All Bushmen are natural actors,” he said in a 1990 interview with The Associated Press. After the sequel, N!xau appeared in Hong Kong films and the Chinese film ”The Gods Must Be Funny.”

His inability to manage his income and have less value for material things was as a result of cultural practices.

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Scenes from The Gods Must Be Crazy_Photo:yasminroohi.com
When his film career ended, N!xau returned home to a newly built brick house. He tended his cattle and raised corn and pumpkins. He had a car for a while, but had to employ a driver because he had never learned to drive, The Namibian reported.

The entertaining actor N!xau Toma was found dead in late June 2003 near his home in Namibia after he reportedly went out to collect wood. He was believed to be 59 years old, and the exact cause of his death was unknown. He had suffered from tuberculosis in the past.
The Gods Must Be Crazy II (2)
His name, N!xau is pronounced with the typical Bushman click used in southern Africa.

Africa Times
Shakir Essa