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Desert of Skeletons. Full Documentary | Planet Doc Full Documentaries

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Published on May 10, 2014

The bushmen and himba tribe live in contact with nature we learn their rare customs and culture through a tour of the skeleton coast.

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The Skeleton Coast marks the limit of a desert which covers a narrow strip, no wider than 200 kilometres, running from southern Angola to the Orange river, the border with South Africa.

02:22 Like a coastal belt, the dunes and rocks of the Namib desert cover 250,000 square kilometres along more than 2,000 kilometres of the Atlantic coast of Namibia.

06: 39 The first European to set foot on this coast was the Portuguese, Diego Cao, in 1486. But it was not until 1883 that the first stable settlement was established, when the German navigator and merchant, Adolf Lüderitz, reached an agreement with the head of one of the Nama tribes. Lüderitz bought the bay for a relative small amount of money and sixty rifles, in order to set up a whale processing plant here. A few months later, Kanzler Bismark declared Namibia a protectorate of the German Empire. In 1904, war broke out between the Nama and the Germans, and Lüderitz became the first prisoner of war.

The town is surrounded by almost endless diamond deposits, but these are transported directly to South Africa,
and have very little influence on the local economy.

13:50 Chonwati is a small settlement, inhabited by just four families, a total of 14 people. The Bushmen live in small, scattered groups, adapting to whatever the land can offer, the natural resources.

19:13 The four Bushmen get ready for the hunt. Their most powerful weapon is to be found below ground.

24: 19 Seven hundred kilometres northwest of Chonwati,
in a remote, mountainous region called Kaokoland,
lie semi-arid lands where a cattle-rearing tribe has settled permanently. The Himba are one of the most interesting, and most intact tribal groups in Africa.

2812 Polygamy is practised among the Himba, and Komané may have sexual relations with whoever she wants, provided she asks her husband for permission. But it is important for a woman to be the first wife, as this confers certain privileges, such as the care of the sacred fire, which give her a more dignified status.

32:13 There is only one thing more important for the Himba than their physical appearance: the cattle.
They are the basis of their economy and a subject which arouses a great deal of passion and rivalry. It is more than a merely economic activity, affecting also political, social and religious aspects of life.

38:48 Tobacco and Dagga, or marihuana, are also important elements in the culture of the Bushmen.

40:42 The hunt has begun. They have hit a male oryx. If the arrow has hit a sensitive area, such as the neck or the lungs, the oryx will fall down dead in a matter of hours, but if not, the slow chase can go on for several days.

49:20 In the village of Chonwati, Kushai, Samgao, Tuka and Bo relax with their families around the sacred fire. With this dance, they give thanks to the good spirits for the success of the hunt and the abundance of food.

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