The Ovahimba Years
A Transdisciplinary Ethnography in Namibia and Angola
Petite Rina
Les années Ovahimba
Une ethnographie transdisciplinaire en Namibie et Angola

dedicated to the memory of Ruy Duarte de Carvalho (1941-2010)
Ruy Duarte de Carvalho, writer, ethnographer, filmmaker, poet, was a friend and a colleague. He helped me to extend my research of the Otjiherero Language Speaking Peoples into the Namibe and Cunene Provinces of Angola. He made his bibliography available to me when I started my research; a rare and generous gesture. In 2009, I made a film portrait of Ruy in Maputo during the Dokanema Film Festival. Ruy Duarte de Carvalho, une vie en Angola, was released in 2014.
Ruy Duarte
Author Title
  Aprovimento Hidráulico do Rio Cunene
Ministério do Ultramar
  Carta étnica de Angola (esboço)
Instituto de investigação cinetifica de angola, Divisão de etnologie e etnografia, Luanda 1970
ALNAES, Kirsten Oral Tradition and Identity: The Herero in 
Botswana, in The Societies of Southern
Africa in the 19th and 20th Century
University of London, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, 1981
Anderson, Rachel J. Redressing Colonial Genocide Under International Law: The Hereros' Cause of Action Against Germany
California Law Review, Vol. 93, No. 1155, 2005. Available at SSRN:
ATRAN, Scott, Unedited, to be published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Religion’s Evolutionary Landscape: Counterintuition, Commitment,
Campassion, Communion
Cambridge University Press, France, USA, Canada
BADER, Christian Ethnies et politique en Namibie
MAE texte interne No. 205/DAM, Windhoek, 1993
BAINES, Thomas Explorations in South-West Africa
London: Longman, 1864.
BERNUS, Edmond Le nomadisme pastoral en question
in Etudes Rurales, Oct-Dec. 1990, no 120.
BLOCH, Maurice et SPENCER, Dan Kinship and Evolved Psychological Dispositions:
The Mother’s Brother Controversy Reconsidered
To appear in Current Anthropology, London, Paris
BOLLIG, Michael Resource Management and Pastoral Production in the Epupa Project Area:
The Kunene Drainage System from Swartbooisdrift to Otjinungwa
Consultancy study for the Epupa Project, Namibia, Germany
BOLLIG, Michael Risk and Risk Minimization Amongst the
Himba Pastoralists in North-Western Namibia
Gamsberg Macmillan, Windhoek, 1982.
BOLLIG, Michael, MBUNGUHA, Tjakazapi Janson When war came the cattle slept--: Himba oral traditions
R. Köppe, 1997 - 337 pages
BOLLIG, Michael “We are in a kraal”. The Colonial Encapsulation of the North-Western Namibian Pastoral Economy.
Research paper, GSS, ACACIA
BOLLIG, Michael and Gewald, J. B. (Eds.) People, Cattle and Land: Transformations of a Pastoral Society in Southwestern Africa.
Cologne, Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, p. 3-52, 2001
BONDT, Grite de Een dorp met betekenis : de ruimtelike organisasie van een Himba dorp
Leuven, 1997. - 27 p. : ill. ; 30 cm. - Leuven, Katholieke Univ.,
Fak. Psychologie en Pedagogiese Wetensch., Lic. onderzoekspaper, 1997.
Booysen, J. M Otjiherero: 'n Volledige grammatika met oefeninge en selutels in Afrikaans
BRIDGMAN, Jon. M. The Revolt of the Hereros
University of California Press, 1981
A Sociolinguistic Survey of the Dhimba Language.
Kunkel 2002. URL: (Accessed August, 2010).
CARDOSO, Carlos, Lopes Estelas funerárias dos Mbali Im caso de acultaração
Insituto de Antropologia da Universitade de coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal, 1991
CARDOSO, Carlos, Lopes (Assistente do I.I.C.A.) Olumbali do Distrito de Moçâmedes: (Achegas para o seu estudo)
Separata do Bool. Inst. Invest. Cient. Angola Vol. 3 (1), Luanda 1966
CARDOSO, Carlos, Lopes (Ex-chefe da divisão de etnologia et etnografia do instituto de investigação científica de Angola) “Ovatjimba” em Angola
Museu Regional de Cerâmica, Cadernos de Etnografia, Secunda Série 1, Barcelos 1967
CHANDLER, Daniel Biases of the Ear and the Eye ‘Great Divide’ Theories; Graphocentrism; Phonocentrism; Logocentrism
CONCEIÇÃO NETO, de, Maria Entre Colonos e Quimbares: No Extremo Sul da Angola
CRANDALL, David P. The Ovahimba of Namibia: A Study of Dual Descent (2 Volumes)

1993: Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) in Social Anthropology, Oxford University;

CRANDALL, David, P. The Strength of Ovahimba patrilineage
Cimbebasia 13, 1991

Himba Flora Taxonomy and Herbal Medicines

in Anthropos, Vol. 99, No. 1, 2004, 200-207.
CRANDALL, David, P. Understanding the Hyena’s Character in African Folktales: the Himba case
in Africa 2002: No. 2, 2002, 153-170.
CRANDALL, David, P. The Place of Stunted Ironwood Trees: a year in the lives of the cattle-keeping Himba of Namibia. 
Continuum: New York & London,.2000

The Role of Time in Himba Valuations of Cattle

in Journal of  the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1998, pp. 101-114.
CRANDALL, David, P. The Importance of Maize Cultivation Among the OvaHimba
in Journal of the Namibian Scientific Society Vol. 43.1992
CRANDALL, David, P. Female over Male or Left over Right: solving a classificatory puzzle among the OvaHimba 
in Africa Vol. 66, No. 3, 1996, pp. 327-348.
CRANDALL, David, P. The Strength of the OvaHimba Patrilineage
in Cimbebasia  Vol. 13, 1991, pp. 45-51.
DALTON, George Primitive Money
in American Anthropologist, Vol. no. 1 February 1965
DEDERING, Tilman The German-Herero War of 1904: Revisionism of Genocide or Imaginary Historiography?
in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1, South Africa, March 1993
EHRET, Christopher Ehret Sheep and Central Sudanic Peoples in Southern Africa
in The Journal of African History, Vol. 9, No. 2 (1968), pp. 213-221 (9 pages), Cambridge University Press,
ELLSWORTH, Kevin, H. Racial and Ethnic Relations in the Modern World: A Comparative Analyses of Portuguese Influence in Angola and Brazil
For presentation at the 1999 International Studies Association Conference, February 1999, USA
ESTERMANN, Carlos, Padre Etnografia e Turismo na Região do Cunene Inferior
Agéncia-Geral do Ultremar, Lisboa MCMLXXIII


The Ethnography of Southwestern Angola. (3 vols.) (Ed., Gibson Gordon.)
New York: Africana, 1976.
ESTERMANN, Carlos, Padre, C. S. Sp. Etnografia do sudoeste de Angola: Volume 3 O Grupo Étnico Herero
Memórias da Junta de Investigaçóes do Ultramar NÝ 30 (Secunda Série), Lisboa 1961
GALATY, John, G. Introduction: Nomadic Pastoralists and Social Change Processes and Perspectives
Journal of Asian and African Studies, XVI, 1-2 (1981), McGill University, Montreal, Canada

GEWALD, Jan-Bart

Herero Heroes: A Socio-Political History of the Herero of Namibia, 1890-1923
in African Studies Review, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Sep., 2000), pp. 161-163, URL:

GEWALD, Jan-Bart

Herero heroes: a socio-political history of the Herero of Namibia, 1890-1923
Ohio State University Press, 1999, 310 pages
GEWALD, Jan-Bart ‘I Was Afraid of Samuel, Therefore I Came to Sekgoma’: Herero Refugees and Patronage Politics in Ngamiland, Bechuanaland Protectorate, 1890-1914.
in Journal of African History,43 (2002): 222-223. http://journals.cambridge. org/production/action/cjoGetFulltext ?fulltextid=125324 (accessed January 28, 2009).
GEWALD, Jan-Bart. Mirror images? Photographs of Herero commemorations in the 1920s and 1930s.
In: W. Hartmann, P. Hayes and J. Silvester (eds.), The Colonising Camera: Photographs in the making of Namibian History, Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press / Athens OH: Ohio University Press / Windhoek: Out of Africa Publishers/ p. 118-124, 1998.
GIBSON, G. D. Himba Epochs
History in Africa 4:67-121, 1977

GIBSON, G. D. Foreword.

The Herero of Western Botswana: Aspects of Change in a Group of Bantu-Speaking Cattle Herders.
In: Vivelo FR, editor. St. Paul, West Publishing; 1977, xviii, 232 pp.
GIBSON, Gordon, D. Double Descent and Its Correlates among the Herero of Ngamiland
American Anthropologist (58, 1956)
GIBSON, Gordon, D. Herero Marriage
Rhodes-Livingstone Institute Journal Vol. XXIV, no. 24, December 1958
GIBSON, Gordon, D. Eds. BOHANNAN, Paul; DALTON, George Markets in Africa - Chapter 25: Bridewealth and other Forms of Exchange among the Herero
Northwestern University African Studies Number Nine, Northwestern University Press 1962
GREEN, Lawrence, G. Lords of the Last Frontier: The Story of South West Africa and its Peoples of all Races. Chapter Four: Kaokoveld Journey
Howard Timmins, Cape Town, 1962
GOLDBLATT, I. History of South West Africa: From the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century.
Cape Town: Juta & Company Ltd.
GORDON, Robert J.
The Impact of the Second World War on Namibia.
in Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 19, no. 1, Special Issue: Namibia: Africa's Youngest Nation (March, 1993): 147-165.
Groupe Angola: Bibliografia Antropológia
Departamento de Antropologia da Universitade de coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal, 1998
Groupe Perspectivas sobre Angola
Departamento de Antropologia da Universitade de coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal 2001
HAHN, Carl Hugo Linsingen, Louis Fourie, and Heinrich Vedder. The Native Tribes of South West Africa.
London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd., 1928.
Hinz, Manfred O. (Ed.) in collaboration with Helgard K. Patemann The Shade of New Leaves
Governance in Traditional Authority. A Southern African Perspective
Lit Verlag, Münster, 2006, ISBN 3-8258-9283-2

Omudile muua ohapo; epangelo liua ohamba. Freely translated, this proverb of the Ovakwanyama of northern Namibia means: New leaves produce a good shade; the laws of a king are always as good as new. The proverb paints a picture of wisdom to express the dialectical relationship between continuity and change in customary law. Since royal orders are supposed not to change from one king to the next, they are always as good as new, reads the explanatory note to the proverb by the anthropologist Loeb, who recorded the proverb. Traditional authority is like a tree standing on its roots, rooted in the tradition created by the ancestors of the ruler and the community. These roots remain firm, stable and unchanged, not so the concrete manifestation of authority that changes and responds to changes of the environment. This makes that new leaves are produced by the rooted tree. The new leaves are new and old. They are old, because in structure, colour and their capacity to protect by giving shade, they are more or less like the leaves of last year and the year before; they are new because they react to the challenge of seasons.
Hitzeroth, H. W. On the Identity of the Stone-Working Tjimba of South West Africa: A Comparative Multivariate Anthropometric Analysis.
Cimbebasia 2, 9 (1976)
JACOBSOHN, Margaret Negotiating Meaning and Change in Space and Material Culture
KAVARI, Jekura. U. The Form and Meaning of Otjiherero Praises
Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Cologne, 2002
KAVARI, Jekura. U. and Laura E Bleckmann
Otjiherero Praises of Places: Collective Memory Embedded in Landscape and the Aesthetic Sense of a Pastoral People, in African Landscapes Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation, 2009, Volume 4, 4, 473-500
SpringerLink, 2009, DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-78682-7_18
Kemper, R; V., Royce, A. P. (Eds.) Chronicling Cultures: Long-Term Field Research in Anthropology
Altamira Press, 2002
KOLA, Roger Kamanda A propos de la « bantouisation » culturelle en république démocratique du Congo
Annales Æquatoria 21 (2000)9-18
LOPES, Cardoso A arte Mbali do distrito de Moçamedes (I encontro de escritores de Angola, 19 - 21 janvier 1963)
Publicações Imbondeiro et dos serviços culturais do Municipio de sa da Bandeira
MacDougall, David Transcultural Cinema
Princeton University Press, 1998
MADEIRA, Ildeberto Pedras da Tristeza: Em Defesa da Arte Mbali
MAFEJE, Prof. Archie African Social Scientists Reflections Part 1: Anthropolgy in Post-Independence Africa: End of an Era and the Problem of Self-redefinition
Heinrich Böll Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya, 2001
MARTEN, Lutz Locative Inversion in Otjiherero: More on morphosyntactic variation in Bantu
SOAS, London
MARTEN, Lutz; KAVARI, Jekura; COOKE, Sheryl; HING, Shi Hyi; TOFT, Zoe; VOGEL, Julia A Sketch of Herero Grammar
Department of Linguistics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Draft 22 november 2000.
Möhlig, Wilhelm, Martre de Lutz et Jekura U. Kavari A Grammatical Sketch of Herero (Otjiherero)
Köppe Verlag, Köln, 2002.
REDINHA, José Distribuição étnica da Província de Angola
Centro de informação et turismo de Angola, 3e Edição, 1965

RIZZO, Lorena

The elephant shooting: colonial law and indirect rule in Kaoko, northwestern Namibia, in the 1920s and 1930s.(Essay)
The Journal of African History, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
SCHAPERA, I. Notes on some Herero genealogies
in African Studies 38.1 (1979).
SILVEIRA, da, Gonçalo, D. Padre Dos Primeiros Trabalhos dos Portuguezes no Monomotapa Memoria apresentada á 10e Sessão do Congresso International dos Orientalistas por A. P. de Paiva e Pona S.S.G.L.
Sociedade de Geographica de Lisboa, Lisboa Imprensa Nacional 1892
THOMAS, L.-V. Doyen de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines Cinq essais sur la mort africaine
Université de Dakar, Publications de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Philosophie et Sciences sociales NÝ 3, Dakar 1986
VAN BINSBERGEN, Wim Islam as a Constitutive Factor in African ‘Traditional’ Religion The Evidence from Geomantic Divination
forthcoming in:
BREEDVELD, A., van SANTEN, J., & VAN BINGENSBERGEN, W., M., J., eds., Islam and Transformations in Africa
VAN BINSBERGEN, Wim Outline of a Modes-of-production Approach to Ideology, Belief and Ritual
adapted from W. M. J. van Bingensbergern & P. L. Geschiere, 1985, ‘Marxist theory and anthropological practice: The application of French Marxist anthropology in fieldwork’, in: W. M. J. van Bingensbergern & P. L. Geschiere, (eds.), Old modes of production and capitalist encroachment: Anthropological explorations in Africa, London/Boston: Kegan Paul International, pp. 235-89; this extract p. 270-278, and notes/references on pp. 285-289.
VAN BINSBERGEN, Wim Reliigion and Development: Reflexions on the Work by Philip Quarles van Ufford and Matthew Schoffeleers
expanded version of text originally published in: Antropologische Verkenningen, 1991
VANSINA, Jan Oral Tradition as History
VANSINA, Jan De la tradition orale: Essai de méthode historique
Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale - Annales - Serie in 8Ý - Sciences humaines - NÝ 36 1961, Tervuren, Belgique
VEDDER, Heinrich. trans. Cyril G. Hall Southwest Africa in Early Times: Being the Story of South West Africa up to the Date of Maharero’s Death in 1890.

London: Oxford University Press, 1938, 229.

VEEN, van der, Lolke J. De l’origine et de l’expansion des populations bantouophones : approche linguistique, approche génétique
Dynamique du Langage (UMR 5596), Lyon, France
VIEGAS, Jennifer Study: Cows Give Men Power
Discovery News 20-11-03
VAN WOLPUTTE, Steven Material Culture in Himbaland, Northern Namibia. African Pastoralists Studies Series, vol. 1.
Tervuren: Royal Museum for Central Africa, 2003. 328 pp. Photographs, map, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 978-90-75894-49-3.
WALLACE, Marion 'Making Tradition': Healing, History and Ethnic Identity among Otjiherero-Speakers in Namibia, c. 1850-1950
in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Jun., 2003), pp. 355-372 (18 pages), Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Wärnlöf, Christofer An Ovahimba Political Landscape: Patterns of Authority in Northwestern Namibia.
Ph. D. thesis, Göteborgs University, Sweden, 1998.
WILKINSON, David Spatio-temporal Boundaries of African
University of California, Presented to the 22nd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, Scranton, Pennsylvania, June 3-6, Los Angeles, 1993