False Portfolio 26 Travel Namibia n3 Always the centre of attention, Himba babies from Namibia are never left on their own and are carried everywhere in a hide back- sling, or on the hip of their mother or caretaker. The pastoral Himba regard their offspring as a great blessing, and even a cattle- rich man is not considered truly wealthy until he has many children and grandchildren. n2 Parading around a family compound in a snakelike formation, a group of Himba women, headed by the wife of the chief and including the mothers of the betrothed and the bride, approach each bystander in turn, asking for blessings and a small gift for the couple. Gifts are usually money, tobacco or ochre. If onlookers have nothing to give, they place a stick or twig into the receiving hand as a gesture of goodwill. 2 3
False n4 The whirling Ondjongo dance forms the climax of a Himba marriage ceremony. In this classic courting dance the participants assume the roles of oxen and herders, with a view to figuratively hunting down prospective partners. To the joyous sound of chanting, an exuberant girl leaps and twirls in honour of the bride, while women ululate their approval of her strength and agility. Travel Namibia 27 4 5n5 As the Ondjongo dance continues, the women standing in a semicircle facing a line of men clap and chant, while one of them dances in the centre in the manner of her favourite cow. With her arms raised to imitate horns, the woman stamps her feet as though they were hooves and struts in time to the clapping.