The Herero of Namibia are the Victorian fashionistas of Southern Africa.
Beautiful, unique and distinctive Herero women's traditional attire is inspired by the Victorian era dress; colourful fabric in either a solid colour or patch worked from several dresses, worn over several petticoats and crinoline and finished with a headdress created from rolled fabric shaped like cow horns. Whilst Herero men adopted their own traditional finery, fashioned from the German military uniform from their warrior and colonial past.
"War broke out between German colonizers and the local tribes in 1904. The Herero tribe was devastated, having lost almost eighty percent of its population. Garments became an important expression of identity during these fragile times. Upon killing a German soldier, a Herero warrior would remove the uniform and adopt it to his personal dress as a symbol of his prowess in battle. Paradoxically, as with the Victorian dresses, the wearing of German uniforms became a tradition that is continued to this day by Namibian men who honour their warrior ancestors during ceremonies, festivals and funerals."
Photographer Jim Naughten captured these stunning images of the Herero back in 2012 [see our earlier blog post] and now the entire series of his Herero works are published in the books 'Haute Africa' and 'Conflict and Costume'.
[Images: © Jim Naughten]