March 3, 2013

Herero People of Namibia

Herero woman in blue dress

I could do without the Daily Mail‘s screaming headline (AMAZING African tribe!), as well as the article’s potted Explanation from Anthropological Experts, but the Herero people in Jim Naughton’s National Geographic-style portraits are possessed of a beauty that I found humbling.


  1. Michael Grant Smith on March 3rd, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    The Daily Mail‘s stories tend to be as shouty and incoherent as local TV news reporting, but damn, those are some fine images.

    Seems to be keeping the Germans away, so who’s to say what works and what doesn’t?

  2. Sheila Ryan on March 3rd, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    The headline (The Namibians who STILL dress like their colonial masters: Tribe clings to 19th century dress ‘to protest against the Germans who butchered them’) reminds me of a Robert Benchley essay from the 1930s titled “Isn’t It Remarkable?”

    Benchley pokes at the “believe it or not” species of journalism (and thinking), with its implied sense of superiority.

    “Remarkably accurate picture of a goose from an Egyptian painting, circa 3000 BC.”

    “Isn’t Grandpa remarkable? Eighty years old and reads the paper every day.”

    And something else about Eskimos. Something remarkable.

    Benchley concludes by suggesting that if we didn’t remark on all of this remarkableness, then where we would we be? We might have to concede that we’re not all that different from ancient Egyptians and Eskimos and Grandpa.

  3. Michael Grant Smith on March 3rd, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Thank goodness there’s always someone across the river or beyond the next hill; a group with which we can contrast our own remarkableness.

  4. Rick Neece on March 3rd, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Makes me think of Daryl’s reference to Omelas in this thread. Thank you, Daryl.

  5. Sheila Ryan on March 3rd, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    There was a boat.