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Himba Woman


Himba Woman

Native African Tribes

Typically, the Himba woman will perform more chores than the men, in particular the more labor intensive activities, such as milking cows and goats, hauling water from the river, raising children, carrying firewood and constructing homes. Despite the prominent role by Himba women in Himba society, they are not strictly matrilineal as are many African tribes. In fact, they are both matrilineal and patrilineal, in that each member of the Himba tribe is a member of two clans, that of their mother and that of their father. This is referred to by anthropologists as bilateral descent, an uncommon pattern that only occurs in a few cultures around the world. The bilateral descent of Himba society may be an adaptation to the extreme desert conditions in which they live in that an individual can rely on both their father's and mother's families for support in times of emergencies. That said, the son typically lives with his father's clan. However, he does not inherit his father's wealth, rather that of his mother's brother (maternal uncle). Conversely, a Himba woman will live with her husband's clan after marriage. This bilateral descent is unique, occurring in very few African tribes.


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Image "NamibiŽ, Oktober 2008" by Martha de Jong-Lantink and is licensed with a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License - BY-NC-ND
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