In 1995, British explorer Benedict Allen went on a 3-month journey to Namibia, on the southwest coast of Africa. Allen first stayed with the Himba tribe in the northern Namib Desert.
The Himba live in round huts, made from branches covered in mud. The “kraal” is where the cows are kept and this is the heart of the village. A Himba man is respected more if he has many cows and they are only killed for meat at important ceremonies.
Cooking fires are lit from the sacred fire, which is guarded by the chief’s wife. The sacred fire is believed to hold the ancestral spirits and ceremonies are held next to it. When a chief dies, a cow is killed on his grave and the new chief brings its milk to the village. He pours some over the sacred fire and drinks some.
A woman’s position in the tribe is defined by her hairstyle and jewellery. First, a young girl’s hair was worn in two thick plaits over her forehead. Later, her hair was worn in many plaits over much of her face because she was ready to be married. Finally, she wore a leather headdress when she was married.
In Africa, many other tribes still live by ancient traditions. To learn about how these people still live today is to be given a glimpse of our own distant beginnings.
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Look at the following sentences about other cultures. Choose a synonym for the verbs in passive form.
- Cooking fires are lit from the sacred fire.
- First the hair was worn in two thick plaits over the forehead.
- When a chief dies, a cow is killed on his grave.