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Himbas, numbering around 50,000 people, are an ethnic group living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene region, formerly Kaokoland.

The Himba wear little clothing, but the women are famous for covering themselves with a mixture of butter fat, ochre and herbs to protect themselves from the sun. The mixture gives their skins a reddish tinge and symbolizes earth's rich red color and the blood that symbolizes life, and is consistent with the Himba ideal of beauty. Women braid each other's hair and cover it in their ochre mixture.

Modern clothes are scarce, but generally go to the men when available. Traditionally both men and women go topless and wear skirts or loincloths made of animals skins in various colors. Boys are generally circumcised before puberty, to make them eligible for marriage. Marriages are arranged at a daughter's birth and usually take place when the girl is between about 14 and 17.

Because of the harsh desert climate in the region where they live and their seclusion from outside influences,. Members live under a tribal structure based on bilateral descent that helps them live in one of the most extreme environments on earth. Under bilateral descent, every tribe member belongs to two clans, one through the father (a patriclan) and another through the mother (a matriclan). Himba clans are led by the eldest male in the clan. Sons live with their father's clan and when daughters marry they go to live with the clan of their husband. However, inheritance of wealth does not follow the patriclan but is determined by the matriclan, i.e. a son does not inherit his father's cattle but his maternal uncle's instead. Anthropologists consider the bilateral descent system advantageous for groups that live in extreme environments because it allows individuals to rely on two sets of families dispersed over a wide area.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himba

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