African Art Part 2 – Namibia

Image result for namib desert

A picture of the Namib desert courtesy of Google

Namibia has always fascinated me and I was fortunate enough to be able to make a short visit to this wonderful country last year. I managed to acquire a lovely new doll for my collection.


Traditional Namibian doll made from cloth

Interesting facts about Namibia

  1. The Namib desert is home to a very unique and strange fossil plant calledWelwitschia Mirabilis which has a lifespan that can reach 2 000 years;
  2. The Constitution of Namibia is the first constitution to include a provision for environmental protection;
  3. The largest meteorite shower ever, the Gibeon meteorite shower, was discovered in Namibia in 1838;
  4. Dragon’s Breath, located in Hariseb, is the world’s largest underground lake;
  5. Namibia is home to the world’s largest population of free roaming cheetahs (approximately 3000).

A traditional Namibian folk tale

The Zebra’s apparel – a story from the Bushmen of Namibia

In the early days when the earth was young, the land was hot and dry. In this new world, water could only be found in a few small holes scattered around the desert.

At one such waterhole, a baboon stood guard. The baboon proclaimed that he was the owner of this waterhole and no one could drink there. He said that this water is mine alone. The baboon would always chase anyone who came by to drink.

The baboon had built a fire close to the pool so that he could protect it during the very cold desert nights.

One day a zebra came by to quench his thirst after a very long and tiring journey. In these early days the zebra had no stripes. He wore a dazzling coat of pure white fur.

The baboon jumped up in anger when the zebra approached. “Who are you? Go away! I am the lord of this water? It is mine.” The zebra was in no mood to listen to this selfish baboon. “this is not your water, you ugly monkey, it belongs to everyone.” shouted the zebra.

The baboon was furious and said that if the zebra wanted the water, he must fight for it. The baboon and the zebra were soon engaged in a fierce struggle. Locked in combat, they rolled around back and forth around the waterhole. Finally, the zebra gave one mighty kick and the baboon was sent flying high up into the rocks behind the waterhole.

The zebra had kicked the baboon so hard that he lost his balance and fell into the baboon’s fire. The zebra sent burning sticks flying into the air when he tried to escape the fire. These charred sticks left black scorch marks all over the zebra’s fine white coat.

Hurt and frightened, the zebra galloped to the plains where he has remained ever since. Eventually, the zebra came to like his new apparel which made him stand out among the other animals.

The baboon in the meantime, had landed on his rear end with a might thud against the hard rocks. The baboon has remained in the koppies ever since, nursing his bald read bottom, still as angry as ever.

You can find more stories from Africa here:

Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town (coming soon)





60 thoughts on “African Art Part 2 – Namibia

  1. Aren’t traditional folk tales so wonderfully simplistic and entertaining. Namibia fascinates me, I love the desert, seemingly empty but a home to so many varieties of wildlife. Thank you for sharing so much interesting information about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant Post Robbie- Namibia- definitely a place that haunts the imagination as to the bushmen – most genetically diverse peoples on the planet and probably the oldest. The story was stunning and I wonder if it contains echoes of a time when that part of Africa was wetter- I know during the ice age the Sahara was but don’t know about the Namibian and Kalahari deserts- and bush animals roamed? Really enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Paul. I find the bushmen very interesting too. Sadly a lot of them have resorted to performing for money and don’t have very nice lives. My son, Michael, has a traditional bushman bow and arrow but he wasn’t willing to let me photograph it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robbie, ask Michael if he believes as the bushmen do that weapons have spirits and that cameras are little boxes that steal souls. If he does then… sorry to side with him over his mum… but I don’t blame him!

        Liked by 1 person

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