Elizabeth DoudAnthropologyTA: Heidi KlompSection 13Simple Quiz #2Every culture views the world through a different perspective, based off of their own personalbeliefs and ideas about how the world works, also known as their imaginary world. And yet, as thesocieties are made up of many individuals, it cannot be expected for all of them to think and act thesame. The Himba have their own imaginary world, with their views on how the world works, theirbeliefs and their customs and traditions meshed together into the lives of each and every Himba, thoughthere are individuals who choose to live or act in a manner that differs from the collective norm. Thispresence of individual beliefs and ideas can also be seen in the lives of students at BYU and peoplefrom societies around the world as they work to maintain a balance between their private beliefs anddesires and the the weight of social constraint and the collective imaginary world.One of the most important beliefs in the Himba society is that of ancestor worship. The Himbabelieve that the spirits of their dead watch over them from beyond the grave. They believe that“without the presence and blessing of the ancestors in their lives. . . provident living from day to dayand season to season would be impossible” (Crandall, 18) Their lives are well because the ancestorsbless and protect them, as seen with Vita's daughter. According to the oracle, an angry man had workedmedicine to poison Vita's wife's milk, in order to hurt Vita through the death of his child. The ancestorshad suppressed the girl's desire for breast milk in order to save her (Crandall, 67). However, the Himbado not expect that they will be protected without action on their part, offering sacrifices and gifts as asign of remembrance to their ancestors. In the case of Vita's daughter, his “deceased fathers asked thata sheep be sacrificed. . . [in] humble acknowledgment of their blessing hand” (Crandall, 67).While the blessings of the ancestors are a gift from Mukuru, the Himba's deity, there is also evilin the world. Omiti is medicine that is “employed by someone consumed with enmity toward the
victim” (Crandall, 39). The Himba believe that there is no such thing as a natural death, instead it isunderstood that the deceased was a victim of malicious intent. They go to great lengths to try andavoid being cursed by those who wish them harm. Great care is taken to hide away those objects suchas the umbilical cord of a newborn and the bones of their “sheep of sin” (Crandall, 117) that are knownto be connected with the body, because “whatever harm is done to them will surely find its way into thebody and cause it to sicken, wither, and die” (Crandall, 67-68). Another evil is that of independentspirits, those that cannot be driven off by the power of the ancestor. It is these spirits that send theHimba looking for those of non-Himba traditions, “for these powerful spirits were impervious toHimba medical practice” (Crandal, 167).