by Jennifer Southwell
on July 20, 2017
3 min read

“Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs.” – Thomas Wolfe

Culture is a pattern of behaviour; an accumulation of generations of action and reaction to one’s environment. It is an expression of humanity through creativity. Language, customs, geography and history all contribute to broadening of human consciousness which contributes to how we depict life, through these filters. The way in which different cultures express their creativity can teach us so much about our world as well as teach us different perspectives on it.

According to the book ‘Born to Run ‘, Louis Liebenberg, tracked animals with the Kalahari Bushmen who put themselves in the mind of the animal they were trying to hunt. This was known as ‘speculative hunting’, where they project themselves into the future, to predict what the animal will do, to the point where they go into a trance-like state. They would run for miles after one animal until it died from exhaustion. This empathic type of hunting was one of the first signs of creative thought and consciousness.

Cultural rituals are some of the purest forms of creativity in African societies. Customs, traditions and ceremonies are what comes to mind when people think of culture. Going into a trance-like state is usually part of spiritual connections to ancestors for guidance and wisdom. Vibrant attire, bright beads, and dancing ceremonies are ways where these cultures can express spiritual belief through expression of creativity.

Our Africa Through My Lens category is giving us a glimpse into rare and authentic experiences with African culture through our modern filter. There is such true beauty in the rituals, colours and aesthetics that these cultures possess. So please enjoy these enchanting images of African cultures, their aesthetics and their confluence with modern society:

Himba man Helene Wiggett
Helene Wiggett, Namibia – “Africa for me is all about the different cultures, and since I have been in Namibia for the past 14 years I find the Ovahimbas very interesting. Himba women especially, as well as Himba men, are remarkably famous for covering themselves with otjize paste, a cosmetic mixture of butterfat and ochre pigment, to cleanse the skin over long periods due to water scarcity and protect themselves from the extremely hot and dry climate as well as against mosquito insect bites. The cosmetic mixture, often perfumed with the aromatic resin of the omuzumba shrub, gives their skin and hair plaits a distinctive orange or red-tinged characteristic, as well as texture and style.”

Omo Valley tribal brothers

Biljana Jurukovski, Macedonia –

“Portrait of two tribal brothers taken during my photographic expeditions in Omo Valley on the banks of Omo river in Ethiopia”

himba woman Herald Pieta

Harald Pieta, Germany “I see you Himba – Frau/Namibia”
Tribal Madonna Omo Valley

Biljana Jurukovski, Macedonia – “Tribal madonna.”


Gilles Nicolet, France – “Sleeping, Benin”

Amboseli Maasai

Donald Kendall, USA – “Maasai in Amboseli.”

Barabaig girl

Gilles Nicolet, France – “Barabaig girl, Tanzania.”

On the way to school

Ralph Delisio, USA – “On the way to school. Ngorongoro Conservancy, June 2017.”

churches in the cliffs, Ethiopia

Scott Reinders, RSA – “Reaching the hidden cliff churches of Gheralta in Tigray, Ethiopia is no easy feat.”

Ethiopian Gangnam style

Magdalena Kosminska, France – “Ethiopian Gangnam style”

Kenyan man getting ready for a ritual

Gurveer Sira, Kenya, Getting Ready