Where Fire Speaks: A Visit With the Himba (Parallax)
On the wild river that divides Namibia from Angola, members of the Himba tribe herd cattle as they have done for hundreds of years.
But the world of the Himba sits in the shadow of third-world development and the inevitability of change that threatens their way of life; now, they are more likely to attend evangelical church services, congregate around the liquor trader’s truck, and pose for tourists’ photographs.
Sandra Shields and David Campion spent two months living with the Himba, and this book, a provocative melding of photography and narrative, tells of the profound changes in the lives of the Himba—both gradual and immediate—which echo those effecting indigenous people around the world.
Includes more than one hundred black and white -photographs.
David Campion and Sandra Shields met in South Africa, married a year later, and have collaborated for over a decade. Sandra has written for publications including Geist and The Globe and Mail, and David’s photographs have appeared in publications and exhibitions in Canada, Europe, and Africa.
PHOTOGRAPHY + TEXT = PARALLAX
Parallax, a new series of books from Arsenal Pulp Press, explore the far reaches of the modern world, proposing new perspectives on how we see ourselves through the eyes and the words of our most intriguing photographers and writers.
capital and doctors there had reconnected the tendon in his thumb. We had stayed in Opuwo because when we walked its streets we felt like we were seeing into the future. We had taken to calling this town of 4,000 the “contact zone.” Students in white shirts mingled with Himba women in traditional dress. There was a big warehouse store where tourists in khakis waited to pay for their purchases along with women dressed like Maria. It was a frontier town, a place where con?icting norms and interests
the headman had gone back to his village and suggested that we take a gift when we went to see him, and that what he liked best was snu= and sparkling wine. It was dim inside the store and after the bright sun of the afternoon, it took a while for our eyes to adjust. There was a counter in one corner. The wall decorations bore the familiar red and white of the world’s favorite beverage. The shelf held bottles of cheap South African wine, packages of ground corn, bags of tobacco, matches, and not
and walked out. We arrived at Kapika’s large and prosperous-looking village in the early afternoon and were met by two young men with big biceps. They told us to wait under a tree. Eventually, Kapika appeared and one of the young men hurried to place a lawn chair in the shade. Kapika shot a hostile look in our direction, then sat in his chair and turned his body away from us. David talked to the headman’s pro>le, telling him we had traveled from Canada to >nd out what the Himba had to say about
healer. My eyes went from the guts spread on the ground to the white line in the sky. It was probably a planeload of tourists on an African holiday. I thought about the people in the sky, the people on the ground, and the distance in between. The innards of the goat con>rmed that the man was cursed and told the healer 14 what must be done to undo the magic. The goat’s body was hung in the tree and we all followed the healer down to the dry stream bed where two goats were tethered in the bushes.
Power Dam in Namibia. Contributing Paper to the World Commission on Dams. (see dams.org) Burmeister & Partners. Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Assessment of Epupa Hydropower Scheme. 1997. (see burmeister.com.na/feasibility.html) On the Internet: Internation River Networks has followed the Epupa dam situation and maintains a webpage with updates and links. (see irn.org) The Namibian, Namibia’s daily paper, has an excellent website with archives back to 1998 (see namibian.com.na) The