Sour milk, called 'Omaere', is the most important source of food for the Hereros. It is stored in large calabashes. Every evening, fresh milk is added. The following morning, the head of the family must taste the Omaere first. Only then are women and children allowed to drink it.
Ancestor worship is of major significance in the daily life of many Hereros. In the evening, they often sit in front of the 'Okuruo', the sacred fire, which may never die out. The head of the family then takes up contact with the ancestors. In a loud conversation with himself, he asks for advice and help or confesses to mistakes and offences.
The cattle kraal, fenced in with long wooden sticks, lies in the centre of each settlement in Hereroland. The kraal protects the herds particularly from nocturnal attacks by predatory animals. The Hereros have been pastoral people for hundreds of years. The cattle herd is the focal point of their lives. It is the basis of their livelihood and, at the same time, an important status symbol. "A man is nothing without his cattle" say the Hereros. Many cattle are highly sacred and may only be used as sacrificial animals. Others are only allowed to be slaughtered on special occasions, for example, if the owner of a herd dies.
Top: Herero woman with traditional head dress. Below: Cattle Kraal. Left: Calabashes with Omaere. The women are waiting for the head of the family.