Local traditions and culture in Namibia

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Namibia

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    Termite Hills

    by Myndo Written Dec 18, 2004

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    Termite Hills are a common view in the lnadscapes of Namibia.
    Normally they have the same color as the underground they stand on, but sometimes you will see white ones and the underground is red. That is, because they dig so deep (over 75m to get to a water supply) that they bring up the material from different geolocical layers.

    Most termite hills one sees are about 1 to 2 m high, but there are bigger ones. This one (in the pciture) was the winner: 8 - 10 m high. They grow bigger the older they are and this one is said to be over 100 years old, maybe several hundreds, it is hard to know, because erosion from wind and rain wears them down, too.

    If there is rain some fungus will grow out of the termite hills. The termites care for them as if they were gardeners. They grow as abig as a human head and are said to taste very very good (better than truffel).
    Unfortunately nobody managed to cultivate it outside the Termite Hills.... this would be a speciality world wide.
    When they grow they attract not only humans, but also many animals, so they are gone fast again.

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  • diageva's Profile Photo

    Wave

    by diageva Updated Oct 24, 2004

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    It is a custom, in a land with so little people, in a land where you can drive a hole day without seeing another car or people, to wave if you find someone in your way.

    Tuhafeni (our great driver) did wave every single man or woman or car we find in our way and always he did have a wave back.

    I love to wave, so from the beginning, before even I did notice this was a custom, I did wave all the people we saw from our bus. Waving I get to know the beautiful Steffney and other children and other people that always did wave back with a big smile.

    So, remember, if you go to Namibia, do wave in your way.

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    Respect the Locals

    by Acirfa Written Nov 20, 2005

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    It is important to take into acount the locals demure ways. They are well covered and do not reveal their bodies, behave accordingly, it shows respect.
    Try to avoid looking the local men in the eye, this is taken as a come on.
    Ladies travelling alone, it is wise to carry a phot of a man and children, show it often and speak of them, even if they dont' belong to you.

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  • Myndo's Profile Photo

    The Herero

    by Myndo Written Aug 24, 2004

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    Namibia has about 1.8 million people.
    About half of them are the Ovambo. But there are a lot of different others: the San, the Nama, the Damara, the Himba, the Kavango...

    One of them are the Herero.
    They make about 8% of the population.
    European Missionars influenced them a lot in the end of the 19th century. This can still be seen today in the traditional clothing of the Herero woman. Its victorian stile and they wear about 12m of cloth !

    The woman in the picture I stumbled upon during her changing into the clothes she works in (she made the bathrooms on the Camping place). She was actually really thin under all that clothes (I wouldn´t believe it either, if I hadn´t seen).
    She saw I was interested in her stile and asked whether I wanted to make a picture (oh, sure!)

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    Himba Men

    by diageva Updated Nov 1, 2004

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    Men are changing their traditional Himba wears that are to pieces of leather for front and behind, and replacing them for cotton clothes.

    They are a semi-nomads descendants of Herero. Cattle and goats are very important, the men go out for search grazing for their cattle.

    Himba are polygamists, but they have to have enought cattle for having wives.

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    Himba's Children

    by diageva Updated Nov 1, 2004

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    Himba children are adorned with jewellery from birth and their skin is protect with the same red mix of sand and animal fat their mother use for their skin.
    Male boys are also painted in black their neck as the adult men.
    They learn to respect animals from the beginning and to know they are part of the village and that they are not toys but helpful for the village.
    Their hair is also cut in a sort of way. A Himba boy is shaved bald, except a small hair-band in the middle.
    All, hair shape and jewellery has its meaning

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    Himba's Women

    by diageva Updated Nov 1, 2004

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    "The Land of the Red Women," Himba woman have red skin cause a mixture of animal fat, red ochre and local herbs.
    They never use water to wash their selves; they use instead something like a sauna with herbs. Each women use their own herbs for have their own perfume.

    As blood is forbidden at the Himba village, women must go out it to bear their children or in menstruation days.

    Married women wear braided hair with pieces of skin.

    Jewellery is very important, metal rings around their ankles, as other jewellery made of shells, copper, skin ….

    It easy see them making their hair one to the other.

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    Himba Chief

    by diageva Written Nov 1, 2004

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    Himba Chief is the more important of the village. In front of the entrance of his hut you will find the holy fire. The space from the entrance hut to the fire is a sacred space and no one can get in.
    The holy fire must not extinguish in theory. The holy fire symbolizes the continuity between the world of the deaths and that of the living.

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    ELECTRICAL PLUGS IN NAMIBIA

    by DAO Written Jan 6, 2008

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    Electricity in Namibia is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. They use the round, South African pins. So if you are from Western Europe, you need an adapter. If you are from North America, you need a converter or your electrical item will blow up.

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    SKELETON COAST

    by DAO Updated Jan 13, 2008

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    Why do they call it the Skeleton Coast? The vast majority of the Namibian coast is a graveyard of animals and sailors over hundreds of years. The coast suffers form foggy weather that hides rocky and sandy shallows. There is no water source for many miles inland. No trees, no shade, no food and no shelter. Because of the barren nature of the coast, any shipwrecked sailors were doomed to die of thirst and exposure. The lack of any sustainable resources also meant there were no lighthouses or warning beacons. So year after year ships ran into hidden dangers and die horrible prolong deaths.

    Have a good look at the pictures and take plenty of water and fuel in your vehicle!

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  • Myndo's Profile Photo

    back from School

    by Myndo Written Dec 18, 2004

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    You will see this several times in Namibia, especially when you have to fill up for gas and food in the bigger cities.

    After twelve o´clock the streets fill with many school children, all wearing the same clothes.
    This picture was taken in Outijo, that is close to the Etosha National Park (well, relatively close. In Namibia everything under 300km is).

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    Traditional Herero Dress among native women

    by 850prc Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Many traditional modes of dress have all but disappeared in Namibia. But, the Herero dress is still worn proudly by women in the Herero tribe(s). These dresses are generally hand-made by the Herero women, and are an important part of a young lady's "coming of age". It is considered a privilege to be allowed to put on and wear the Herero dress.

    The hat is supposed to symbolize the horns of the cape buffalo, one of the mightiest animals of southern Africa. The sleeves are designed to billow like an elephant's trunk.

    Although you sometimes see this type of dress made out of multi-colored cloth, we were told that true Herero dress is made from a single type and color of cloth. We were told that the Herero consider the patchwork types found in other parts of Namibia to be the equivalent of "hobo garb".

    Most Herero men seldom wear ceremonial or tribal dress, as their jobs force them to behave in a "western manner". However, the women maintain the tradition, both encouraged and expected to by their menfolk. As it was pointed out many times, southern Africa is still very much a society defined by men.

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    Sundowners....a civilized way to end each day

    by 850prc Written Aug 2, 2003

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    Throughout Namibia, as in much of southern Africa, it is a tradition to say goodbye to the day by having a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail. This tradition of "sundowners" has existed since the colonial time(s) of the British. And, it doesn't really matter where you are, or who you're with.....sundowners are a daily matter of fact.

    So, whether you're in the bush or in Windhoek or Swakop, expect to say goodbye to the fierce and warm Namibian sun each day with a toast. Sundowners, man!

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    German Influence

    by SanguiniA Updated Aug 4, 2006

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    It is common knowledge that Namibia has a cetrain Gerrman influence .... one example is the beer, brewed to German standards. And do the Namibians know how to make a refreshing beer!!! I am referring to the wonderful Windhoek Lager - yummy. There is also Tafel but I would prefer the Windhoek anytime, especially in the desert :-) But a word of warning, drunk driving is not looked upon nicely here so be careful, for your own sake first and foremost ;-)

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    Namibian Barbecue

    by chicabonita Updated Jan 16, 2005

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    Namibians love to barbecue! It is called brai. The meat in Namibia is excellent. Namibians really love to eat meat! It isn't the country for vegetarian :-)

    Try also the more extraordinary ones like oryx or springboek.

    A must which goes with a Brai is the very delicious chutney and a toast with apricot jam ... mmmmmmmmmmhhhhh!!!

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