The Taureg people are self-sufficient and wonderful improvisers, characteristics fostered during the long years of sanctions. They are also deeply attached to their land, proud of it and even loathe leaving it, especially at such an exciting time in their history. Taureg people never forget where they came from, whether it be their home village or the dark years of isolation. Surprisingly knowledgeable about the world, they remain refreshingly untouched by it. Above all, for the first time in decades, they are optimistic and convinced that the future is theirs.
Life revolves around the family, a bond that took on added significance during the years of international isolation when Libyan society turned inwards in search of company and support. Grafted onto the immediate family are multiple layers of identity, among them extended family, tribe and village, with an overarching national component of which every Taureg is proud. Libyan women nominally have equal status with men, from marriage and divorce laws to rights of equal pay in the workplace. The reality is somewhat different from the theory, with men still predominant players of public life and few women reaching the summit of any industry.
The Tuareg people are predominantly 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 urbanization 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.
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.
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.