The OvaHimba of Namibia and Angola

OvaHimba - Namibia - Taste of Southern Africa

The OvaHimba people of northern Namibia and southern Angola are particularly known for covering their hair and skin in Otjize paste. In many instances, their image has come to represent Africa. The Otjize paste is made of butter, fat and red ochre, and sometimes scented with aromatic resin, which the OvaHimba women apply each morning to their skin and hair, giving them a distinctive red hue. 

Practically, the paste protects them from the extremely hot and dry climate they live in, as well as against insect bites. Socially, however, the OvaHimba see it as a highly desirable aesthetic cosmetic which symbolises the red of the earth and the colour of blood, the essence of life.

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