The Herero tribe inhabits much of Namibia and is known for its traditional Victorian era‐style of dress.
So how did the Herero come to develop such a distinct style of dress?
In 1892, German colonists entered the Southern African country of Namibia and declared it “German South‐West Africa” around 1904. This led to the first genocide of the 20th century also known as the Herero Genocide in which some 24,000 to 100,000 Herero lost their lives. After losing the war to the Germans in 1907, the Herero tribes were forced into concentration and labor camps where many died of famine and were subject to “race experiments”. There, the native people were forced to clothe themselves to align with the conservative attitudes of the German missionaries.
According to a report 80,000 Herero were reduced to a mere 15,000 between 1904 and 1907.
When the Germans finally left Namibia in 1915, following the Treaty of Versailles, the Herero people continued to dress in the traditional fashion of their German influencers to serve as a reminder of their past. The women often adorn their heads with unique hats in matching fabrics which are said to replicate horns in honor of their cattle‐dependent communities.
Were you familiar with the Herero people?