Some 60,000 Namibians consider themselves to be of Nama descent, part of a tribe of people that share the same light skin, small body frames and Khoikhoi clicking language of the country’s ancient bushmen.
Though once at home in Southern Namibia and South Africa, war broke out when the Germans arrived in th coastal country of Namibia and displaced the indigenous people to secure their colony. Nearly 80 percent of the Herero—as well as a number of Nama people—perished in the Herero and Namaqua Genocide. Those who remained were driven into the desert and now exist mainly in the southern-most part of the country and in the resource-poor desert. Like in many indigenous tribes, storytelling and community are important parts of the Nama culture. And while their way of life in modern times is a nod to Namibia’s precolonial days, their traditional dress is reflective of missionary influences. In the early 1800s, European missionaries arrived in Namibia, and as a result, much of the country—and many of the Nama people—practice some form of Christianity.