Himba (Ovahimba) Headrest Specifications: 16 cm x 11 cm x 8.5 cm. Origin: Namibia, Southern Angola (see ethnographic notes below) Medium: Carved Timber & Leather
Women and girls tend to perform more labor-intensive work than men and boys do, such as carrying water to the village, earthen plastering the mopane wood homes with a traditional mixture of red clay soil and cow manure binding agent, collecting firewood, attend to the calabash vines used for producing and ensuring a secure supply of soured milk, cooking and serving meals, as well as artisans making handicrafts, clothing and jewelry. The responsibility for milking the cows and goats also lies with the women and girls. Women and girls take care of the children, and one woman or girl will take care of another woman's children. The men's main task is preoccupied tending to the livestock farming, herding where the men will often be away from the family home for extended periods, animal slaughtering, construction, and holding council with village headmen.
Members of a single extended family typically dwell in a homestead (onganda), a small family-village, consisting of a circular hamlet of huts and work shelters that surround an okuruwo (sacred ancestral fire) and a central enclosure (kraal) for the sacred livestock. Both the fire and the livestock are closely tied to their veneration of the dead, the sacred fire representing ancestral protection and the sacred livestock allowing "proper relations between human and ancestor".
Southern African Tribal Art from Namibia, African Origins, Online Tribal Art Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.