The Berg Damara tribe are a unique ancient and aboriginal hunter-gatherer but are now agro-pastoralists. As the oldest inhabitants of Namibia alongside the San and Khoekhoe, the tribe have given anthropologists headaches as to their origin and how they came to their present location. Their physical feature and language show two different descent and the process of reconciling this difference is still a big issue for historians and classic anthropologists.
The Damara people were called Berg Damara by the Germans while referring to their extended stay in the hills of Khomas highland. At various time, the Damara people made up about 8.5% of the total population of Namibia. Some of the most eloquent leaders of the Southern African nation have been Damaras. The Damara speak the Khoekhoe language, the tribesmen are found around the country although they live primary in the north western region.
The typical Damara community consist of several larger families called the haoti. The Damara consists of The eleven clans. The traditional religion of the tribe is focused on the ‘eternal fire’ and this is entwined with the tribe’s hunting activities. Before the arrival of the colonialists, the Damara people were nomadic like several other tribes. However, today, the tribespeople are more settled and they are now farmers and animal keepers. The rural dwelling Damara cultivate corn and vegetables.
One of the prominent attractions of the Damara Tribespeople is the Damara Festival, this is the two-day annual festival that takes place in November at Okombahe. The festival is aimed at raising the traditions of the Damara people and pass It on to the next generation through several cultural performances. The festival also commemorates deceased Damara leaders. Catching up with the festival will be an avenue to experience the ultimate experience of the Damara people. The traditional Damara dance is a sight to behold and if you are treated to the experience, you will definitely be enthralled.
One of the ways to experience the lost culture of the Damara people is to visit the Damara Living Museum near Twyfelfontein. The open air museum has about 30 staff and they show tourists how the Damara life used to be in the past. You can have the village tour only or a combination of the village and the bush tour. The open-air museum basically recreates the way Damara people used to live In the past and the village sees people who engage in the cultural crafts of old.
The Damara people have long refined the idea of folk lore and storytelling. It is not unusual to be treated to performances of old Damara folk tale that incorporates a lot of dancing and singing. The way of dressing of the Damara might also leave some tourists impressed. This is not to leave out the fact that the Damara tribes are also quite traditional when it comes to medicine and healing. A safari visit to the Damari people is definitely worth every bit of it.
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