#13 How do Himba build a house or shelter?



Creation of a Himba house

… for the storage of fruits and vegetables

We already have learned that Himba and traditional Herero houses are quite similar. In the 13th episode I would like to show you how the Himba create a shelter. A shelter is a building for storage purposes. Here, the walls are not sealed with dung, which is commonly used by traditional houses. Instead, the walls are stabilized with halved branches, in order to allow the air to circulate. It takes about a day to create a shelter like the once I show you here, preconditioned that sufficient branches have been collected the day before.
The shelter is used to dry corncobs and serves for storage purposes as well. Corncobs are placed on top of the shelter, where they also create a cool shadow. Inside the shelter watermelons and pumpkins are stored, so that they last longer. Not all Himba conduct agriculture. Many Himba still have a nomadic lifestyle.
The walls of the shelter are constructed by heavier branches and smaller tree trunks, which are embedded partly in the top soil layer. The bark with the thin sprig is used as well and is going to function as a rope.
The halved branches are used on the interior and exterior wall. They are tightly squeezed together with the bark in order to stabilize the walls. The bark is then fastened with distinct knots.
Himba dressing or presentation serves two purposes – it is functional and has in many cases a special meaning. Himba headman usually wear a red cap. Under the cap they carry something like a spoon, which is used for the tobacco. Tobacco is carried in an elegant tube. These requisites are not only functional, they serve a purpose and are only carried by the Himba headman.