The strange hairstyles made of clay have created a characteristic for the ancient Himba tribe in Namibia.
Perhaps the Himba tribe in Namibia is a unique tribe left in the world with very special customs. Over many generations, Himba’s semi-nomadic tribe still lives as primitive despite the development of the world of outsiders to an unbelievable level of science and technology.
Instead of using cosmetics, they make Otjize, a red substance, used to apply to skin and hair. Women here do not wear bras, women only wear a loincloth to cover the lower body, the rest are still bare even when meeting strangers.
Himba people are also known by other names as Omuhimba people or Ovahimba people living mainly in western Kaokoland, in northern Namibia. Because of living in one of the harshest areas of the planet, their water resources are extremely scarce. That’s why the Himba people have never bathed all their lives. The use of bath water is a trance in the tribe.
Instead, they use Otjize to clean and protect the skin from the sun. The substance is red soil, derived from fat. Himba people apply Otjize to the whole body, then use medicinal powder in combination with other herbs and then burn it to burst. This is their “bath” way. Otjize has the meaning to represent the earth, blood and the beauty of the tribe is still about 50,000 members.
From puberty, Himba women began to braid their hair into strands, each day, they spent about a few hours to take care of their hair, take clay and red soil to apply it to their hair in order to maintain a perfect shape.
Photographer Franco Cappellari, 61, from Venafro recounted his experience in the same tribe. Women are extremely conscious of beauty and spend a lot of time on their looks. Although there are still a few children still wearing T-shirts, the Himba tribe are hardly Westernized. The government of Namibia has specific policies to protect Himba from external impacts.