The Himba tribe of Namibia that doesn’t bathe.

The semi-nomadic people of Ovahimba and Ovazimba tribes stay down in the Kunene and Omusati regions of Northern Namibia. The Himba tribe. With a population of over 50,000.

Most of their cultures have been upheld despite western influence and agitation.

The himba tribe
The Himba tribe

Milking cows and taking care of the children are customary for them to engage in daily activities, while the men go hunting, sometimes leaving for long periods.

The Himba are a polygamous people; Himba girls are married off to male partners selected by their fathers once they attain puberty.

One of their cultural practice which is the “Man comes first” tradition. The woman has little or no opinion in decision making. Submission to her husband’s demands come first.

 “When a visitor comes knocking, a man shows his approval and pleasure of seeing his guest by giving him the Okujepisa Omukazendu treatment — the wife is given to his guest to spend the night while the husband sleeps in another room. In a case where there is no available room, her husband will sleep outside.” According to the Guardian.

This, reduces jealousy and fosters relationships.

“bathing is forbidden” is another tradition that has stood the test of time. The women take a smoke bath and apply aromatic resins on their skin rather than take their baths. They are also guided by the belief that the color red signifies “Earth and blood.” Their red skin is one of the things that make them extremely unique. The red color is from the otjize paste (a combination of butterfat, omuzumba scrub, and ochre), and its function is to protect their skin from the harsh desert sun and insect bites.

Himba Influence in African Literature