Hereros | Photographer: Jim Naughten | Photography News Journal |

“I traveled in Africa after finishing college. I bought an old motorbike and more or less stumbled across Namibia on my journey. It was instantly spellbinding—the extraordinary landscapes, the colorful and varied inhabitants and their surreal and often brutal history. I photographed the same tribe back then with my old film camera but always wanted to return to make a more extended project. I’m fascinated by history and often choose projects that make connections with the past.”


“Each image, a portrait of Herero tribe members of Namibia, 
reveals a material culture that harkens the region’s tumultuous 
past: residents wear Victorian era dresses and paramilitary 
costume as a direct result and documentation of its early 20th 
century German colonization.

Namibia’s borders encompass the world’s oldest desert. Bleak 
lunar landscapes, diamond mines, German ghost towns, rolling 
sea fogs, nomadic tribes and a hostile coastline littered with 
shipwrecks and whale skeletons comprise the region’s striking 
and haunting natural features. Namibia’s geography has 
witnessed a turbulent and little documented history of human 
settlement, upheaval and war within a particularly brutal 
period of European colonization. 

In the European scramble to colonise Africa, Kaiser Wilhelm’s 
Germany claimed one of the least populated and most hostile 
environments on the planet. It became Deutsche Sudewest- 
afrika. Though sparsely populated, it was already home to the 
San, Nama and Herero people. Rhenish missionaries set about 
converting and clothing them after European fashion. Over 
time, this became a Herero tradition, and continuing to dress 
in this manner was a great source of pride to the wearer. 
Gradually, regional variations in the silhouette emerged; for 
example, the addition of 'cow horns' to headdresses reflects 
the great importance with which they regard their cattle.“ - Jim Naughten

Via Photo report