Traditional lifestyles vs. modernisation: The Himba of Namibia

Himba tribes people (© Wikimedia)

The semi-nomadic Himba people, who live in a remote corner of Namibia, are one of the last traditional tribes of Africa. Their way of life nearly vanished towards the end of the last century, when most of their livestock died in a drought. European agricultural engineers have drawn up plans for a dam along the Kunene River on the border with Angola. But the river is sacred to the Himba, and they fear their traditions will be destroyed by the construction of the hydraulic dam. The project exemplifies the dilemma of modernisation versus tradition that divides so many communities in the world.

Producer: Michele Ernsting

Broadcast: October 12, 1997

The programme won a gold medal in the social issues category at the New York Radio Festivals.