or Kel Tamasheq, the people who speak Tamasheq, and a history of the Sahara
- Paperback (BC)
- 28 May 2015
Romanticised as mysterious ‘people of the veil’, with an historic reputation too as fearsome warriors, the Tuareg were the guardians of the Sahara for over a thousand years. Surviving in one of the most pitiless and inhospitable terrains on earth, they controlled the lucrative caravan trading routes until 19th and 20th century colonisation subjugated them. Current global politics and the rise of political Islam, jihadism and terrorism has further fragmented their society and way of life harshly. Yet the unique and distinctive Tuareg culture, with its ancient Tifinagh script and traditions of proverbs, poetry and song - and strict behavioural codes - remains powerful despite the pressures on this proud race. This timely and inspiring book tells the story of what has happened in the Sahara and what is happening today. It is a story constantly misunderstood and misrepresented but revealed and described here with absolute authority and sympathy. The accompanying photographs capture the grandeur of the Sahara and the elegant, resourceful Tuareg. The photographer Henrietta Butler has assembled a team of renowned experts whose common theme is above all their passionate interest in these marginalised peoples who now find their way of life and culture so challenged.
Former Guardian photographer Henrietta Butler first met the Tuareg in 2001 when she covered the Cure Salée festival in northern Niger, for Guardian Travel. She has continued to return to the area and to the Tuareg region of Algeria for the past 14 years - areas now under high security, firmly in foreign offices’ ‘red zones’, with tourism dead. In 2002 Henrietta shared the exhibition Desert Nomads with Sir Wilfred Thesiger, and curated his photographs for this. She has also worked for the BBC, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Opera House, Oxford Film and TV, and The Independent on Saturday and The Sunday Times magazines.