David P. Crandall
This is an intimate account of the lives of a small group of cattle herders, the Himba, who live in and around the settlement of Otutati in northwestern Namibia. The narrative chronicles the events of a single year, though within tat year are found the events of a lifetime: birth, maturation, aging, death, generosity, meanness, accomplishment and failure.Through subtle yet vivid description, the author draws the reader into a human world that appears so utterly different. However, as the leading characters' lives and perosnal qualities, their joys, hopes and anxieties unfold, the exoticism of their world fades and the experience of life rings strangely familiar. Indeed, the narrative's power lies in its finely woven depiction of the great commonality of human life and the human condition in the midst of a peculiar and foreign world. If this is an admission anthropologists are traditionally loathe to make, yet it is so; and the reader is left with a beautiful and compelling portrait of a world and a people in which the familiar and the strange freely mix and mingle.