The Himba don’t count their years from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived, but from the day that the child was a thought in his mother’s mind.
According to tradition, when a woman desires to have a baby, she goes off the village and sits under a tree by herself, and she keeps silent until she can hear the “birth song”, or the “song of the child”.
After hearing the melody, she comes back to her village to physically conceive the baby, although it is already a reality in her mind.
When the woman is ready to give birth, she is accompanied outside the village by a group of elderly women who assist her during the labour.
After the child is born, the mother and child spend a week inside a special shelter, used solely for the occasion. It is built to the side of the headman’s hut, near the sacred fire, under the special protection of the ancestral spirits.
After the week has passed, the child is given a sort of christening. The headman leads them in front of the sacred fire and introduces them to the spirits of their ancestors. This event is akin to an introduction to social life.