Found in present-day Northern Namibia, the Himba people are an indigenous African tribe with an estimated population of 50,000 people. A Nomadic tribe, the Himba tribe, is often referred to as the last nomadic people of Namibia, predominantly livestock farmers; they count their wealth in the number of cattle owned.
The Himba women are known for their red clay skin & hair, portrayed as an iconic image of African tribes.Otijze, the red beauty paste used by the Himba women, is responsible for their skin’s distinct red colour, which has earned them the name “Red People of Africa.”
Made from a mixture of butter and ochre, Ojitze lends the deep reddish tinge to their skins and is regarded as the ideal beauty standard for the Himba people. Ochre, the main ingredient in this reddish tinge, is a natural red clay pigment made from a mixture of ferric oxide, clay and sand.Otjize holds tremendous significance for the Himba people, symbolising the earth’s rich red colour, blood and the essence of life.
Himba women use this red clay (otjize) in their hair, which is kept long and plaited into intricate designs with goat hair added for stylish purposes. Himba women begin to use this paste perfumed with aromatic resin omuzumba (Commiphora multijuga) to design their hair from puberty.
It protects their skin from sunlight and repel insects, the Himba people have described the use of otjize as purely aesthetic, a traditional make-up applied strictly by the women.
source: theguardian / Getty images