Africa Guide

Tuareg People


The Tuareg people are predominently nomadic people of the sahara desert, mostly in the Northern reaches of Mali near Timbuktu and Kidal. The Tuareg are often referred to as "Blue Men of the desert " - because their robes are dyed indigo blue. They live in small tribes with between 30 and 100 family members and keep camels, goats, cattle and chicken which graze the land.

They are a proud race of people, famous for their fighting abilities and artwork, now staring urbanisation and resettlement in the face.

The sword is a Tuareg's most valued possession. Many are passed from generation to generation and said to be protected by the victories of its past owners.

Family roles
Women process milk, make butter, prepare animal skins, make clothes and bedding from skin, collect firewood and water.

Men drive the animals take responsibility for selling. Men will take camels to towns to sell them, returning with millet which they use as flour for bread making. Other purchases will include sugar and tea. Most outputs, however, are consumed by the family

In recent times the Tuareg have been abandoning their nomadic way of life and take up sedentary lifestyles. Drought and government policy are threatening their traditional way of life but Tuaregs and their camel-caravans still appear unexpectedly on the horizon before melting into the desert again.

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