WTF? of the Day: Appropriating the Himba

"Ah! The Europeans have discovered the Himba! 
And are standing ready to appropriate!" ~ King


  1. In my search for reference material for the Himba I stumbled upon these images as well. I kept thinking, is there any place in the world that white people haven’t touched in some way? A patch of ground on which the white man hasn't imposed himself? Aren’t there some things/areas- cultures that should remain untouched by western influences? Makes me think of the poem, “House In the World” by Langston Hughes.

    I’m looking for a house
    In the world
    Where the white shadows
    Will not fall.
    There is no such house,
    Dark brothers,
    No such house
    At all.

    Ostensibly, we live in a world dominated by the suffocating presence of white folk; where every facet of life (our deepest and most sacred cultural- spiritual and religious beliefs) is framed by a white context- and viewed through a white lens.

    Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a place on the planet, where white shadows do not fall.

  2. Solution505011/3/10, 9:53 PM

    Oh great. It's now for the usual christianity imposition and/or genocide procedure.

  3. M.Gibson, thanks for sharing that poem.

    As for white people, they never learned the meaning of keeping a respectful distance.

  4. Ankhesen Mié said...
    " don't say."

    Oh my, that was sad...
    A little bit of black-face does not a Himba make. I take it they were supposed to appreciate the fact that she ‘put forth the effort’ in her self-centered bid at appropriation. Hence in her mind- their acceptance would make her an authority on ‘all things Himba’. It was quite typical in how she chose to opt-out when things got rough. Also typical were the tears that fell when her stunt backfired; they were right in laughing at her.

    All she could do was sit there and feel the fool; her humiliation summed up in the wet ocher that streamed down her cheeks. I keep asking this question when I see things like this; what is wrong with white people??? Not just American whites, but all white people.

  5. Okay so they laughed at you? Why was she so traumatized? Loss of WP must really hurt.

  6. Truthfully, this depressing me. I truly hope the Himba stay the way they are instead of being converted into christianity. smh. There have been too many times when the so-called christians took over and look what happened. smh.

  7. OH my diddy what the fuck is this bloody bullshit

  8. Ooh this reminds me of that British show, I think it was 'Tribal Wives' or something where white British women were taken to several parts of the world to live with 'tribes' and to see how horrible life was on the 'other sid'e and how lovely it is to be a privileged white woman in a developed country ::facepalm::

    I believe the first image is from that show, can't be too sure though I stopped watching the show after the episode in Ethiopia. I admit I liked the show for it's focus on people maintaining their lifestyles but the appropriation sickened me after a few episodes.

  9. Solution505011/4/10, 9:12 AM

    I just had a chilling thought. With these white people here "learning" this tribe's culture, don't be shocked to see their style of items, body adornments, and hairstyles in some walmart catalog sometime next year.

  10. I've always been wary of WP,&recently gotten sick of seeing them. Now they're going off&imposing their stupid White ways on our beautiful people....seriously, all of Africa needs to be like Gabon&KICK THE MOFOS OWT!

  11. Here's what annoys me.

    The Himba are not just their culture. They're not just a fashion symbol. They're survivors of genocide who've managed to regain and maintain control of their ancestral lands, and keep a very old culture intact.

    Thus, to admire the culture and beauty of the Himba is one thing; it's also understandable. To actually respect the Himba, however, is another.

    It means to travel to their land, (speaking at least a little of their language) to learn about their history, their customs, and have enough humility to not presume that they have to do anything for you.

    It means understanding that they don't have to learn from you. They have a religion, thank you; they don't need or want yours. They have a language, thank you; they don't need to learn yours.

    Respecting them also means accepting that they don't have teach you anything about themselves if they don't want to. And if you feel the need to impose your curiosity on them anyway, then understand that when you inevitably come out looking like a fool, they have the right to laugh at you.

    When POC write about the Himba, I've noticed there's no talk of changing them in any way. But if you read the comments under the Himba vids on YouTube, you can tell the bulk were written by WP. They talk about changing the Himba's religion (which they automatically assume is Islam, btw), and doing away with all the "wrong" aspects of their culture.

  12. *deep breaths, rubs ears* WHOOOSAH!

  13. @ eccentricyoruba

    It is "Tribal Wives" - there's a whole bunch of these vids on YouTube.

  14. Wow. Imperialistic tourism in action. Gotta love it.

  15. ok, I started laughing when she was crying. I really couldn't contain it.

  16. Everyone knows white people and their feelings are the center of the universe. Clearly she wasn't emotionally, mentally strong enough to take on this challenge. I think her "white privilege" lead her to believe that she could just go do something like this and be accepted. No one told her, you are with some tribe in Africa who gives noooo fucks about an outsider and certainly not some white lady. They haven't been conditioned to step around the delicate sensibilities of precious white women *rolls eyes*


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