#17 Namibia’s Himba and Herero at Opuwo’s unusual market



Opuwo’s unusual market

Opuwo is the main city in the northern Kunene region. About 12000 people live here – mainly Herero and Himba. People with their traditional, natural presentation, live together with modern people, which use even business clothing. I always returned to Opuwo after I have spend a couple of days in the bush – mainly to have a shower and to refill the water canister. Outside of Opuwo, clean water and a shower is something you are unlikely to get hold of. Opuwo is a safe place to be and all the villages around Opuwo are peaceful, people are incredible friendly and it is a lot of fun to be there. However, Oshakati is not safe – stay away from it. I know people who got their car stolen in front of an administrative building even though the security equipped with machine guns was requested to watch it. If you ask the local people in Opuwo they will tell you the same. Oshakati is a border city and like many other border cities to Angola it has its poverty related crime issues.
If you come to Opuwo you will certainly realize this clapping and singing at its marked, which goes from two in the afternoon until 4 in the morning – and this every day. This dance is called Otjongo and it is a Himba dance. Otjongo has nothing to do with the dances I have shown you before – Otjongo is not a children dance – it is a dance between men and women. During evening hours more and more people come, dance, drink and get into trance. I probably would characterize Otjongo as a metaphysical form of communication between men and women. To be honest with you I haven’t tried to dance Otjongo, so I don’t have any practical experience with this dance at all. It also looks like you need to have a couple of beer too – and that’s one of my rules – I will never ever try self-made beverages, which the local people call beer. This is because I tried once beer from the Zulu in South Africa and after this I nearly needed to get hospitalized due to bad stomach problems, which lasted for a couple of months. At Opuwo’s marked you can get these nicely fried Namibian bakeries – they are approved by my stomach. You can also buy meat there – so long you fry it.