Ochre and Water

Director Photography: Craig Matthew
Directors: Craig Matthew and Joelle Chesselet
Editor: Ronelle Loots
Music: Kalahari Surfers
© Doxa Productions 2001
Distributor: Off The Fence (Amsterdam)
Duration: 53 minutes
 
"For the Himba, the land is absolute. If you take away the land, then there is no longer a Himba." Chief Hikuminue Kapika
 
Ochre and Water traces director/cameraman Craig Matthew's journey over seven years into the memory and landscape of the nomadic Himba people of arid Northern Namibia, revealing the complex web of relationships that define the Himba herders' culture within a global context. The Cunene River, which runs through their Angolan and Namibian land is of utmost cultural and material significance. Without their relationship to ancestors' gravesites and the availability of pastures and vegetation that thrive along the riverbanks, the entire pastoral nomadic system would collapse.
 
Guided by their oral history and rich ancestral tradition, the Himba resist the development of a hydroelectric dam development that will destroy their world forever. The film poses questions about first world development and gives viewers an insight into the potential loss of a unique culture, revealing 
its extraordinary resilience and relevance in a contemporary context. 
 
"Himba Chronicles is an awesomely, almost heartbreakingly beautiful film about the lives and times of the Himba people of Namibia, I was utterly captivated by it by its poignant story, by its potent, restless imagery, by its strangely moving colors and tones, by the resonant musicality of its sound track, and above all, by its capacity to plumb the depths of an utterly fascinating world."
Prof. John Comaroff, Department of Anthropology,
University of Chicago