THE RED PEOPLE

Located in Namibia, the Namib Desert is an effortlessly beautiful landscape that shows its age with ancient scars carved into the earth. Unique shapes and patterns form over great lengths of time as the winds whip to transform, shape and move this majestic landscape. The Namib Desert stretches 1,000 miles along the Atlantic coast of Southern Africa making Namibia one of the least densely populated countries in the world, with a population of 2.1 million people. A number of unusual species of animals that are highly adaptive and can live on little water are found in this desert, including oryx, springboks, ostriches, and in some areas even desert elephants. Living within this harsh landscape and calling it their home are the indigenous Himba people. They are one of Southern Africa’s last traditionally living pastoral tribes with an estimated population of about 50,000 living in northern Namibia. They are semi-nomadic with the men tending to livestock and the women performing more labor-intensive duties such as homebuilding, water fetching and meal preparation in addition to caring for children. The Himba live by herding sheep, goats and some cattle, and they move locations several times a year to graze their livestock. The Himba are a people that live very distant from the modern Western world. Although they have contact with Western society, the Himba people have managed to maintain their traditional culture and lifestyle. The Namib Desert is ancient, severe and beautiful all at the same time. It will grace you with dust, drought, stifling heat and harsh conditions. It will deprive you of necessities like water and food. However, the landscape has produced such treasures as the Namib Sand Sea and the Skeleton Coast. That same desert beauty can be seen in the tribe of the Himba people, whose women not only use the earth (stone of the ochre) to beautify their bodies giving them their red color, but whose customs also have transcended time and technology to maintain a tribal lifestyle that has been virtually unchanged since the 16th century. Remaining unchanged in its present form for the last 2 million years of its 55 million year existence, one can only wonder what rare form the landscape and it inhabitants will take over the years to come?