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calvo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 15-Feb-2009 at 13:27
Recently I've read up a few articles about the Tuareg people in Niger, Mali, and Nigeria. They seem like an interesting people.
 
Don't know whether I could find any experts in Tuarge culture on this forum, but I'd like to know more about these people in the following ways:
 
- What is the relationship between Tuaregs and the sedentary Berber peoples? Do they consider themselves as part of the same people or do the Tuaregs consider themselves as a "the people apart" for being nomads?
- I've read that Tuareg women have traditionally held rather high social status. Is this still true? Are most Tuareg weddings arranged or free? Is it acceptable for them to marry non-Tuaregs?
- Does slavery still exist in Tuareg society?
- What was the Tuareg's relation with the European colonial powers? Were they generally pro-French and anti-Arab or were they simply indifferent?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Feb-2009 at 02:32
I can't answer those completely but this is what I do know.

I think slavery does still exist in Tuareg society, but I could be wrong.

The sterotypical scene of the French foriegn legion is it holed up in a fort in the Sahara shortly before being completely overrun by Tuareg, so I'd imagine that they didn't get along so well. I haven't though that this was because they were pro or anti anyone so to speak, but more because they value their independence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Feb-2009 at 11:48
One thing I find intriguing is whether modern Tuarges respect international frontiers. They live between Algeria, Mali, and Niger. I don't know whether certain tribes are confined withing the frontiers of certain countries, or whether all tribes move across frontiers.
 
Do they have passports and nationality?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 03:36
No they don't.
That is true of alot of peoples, not just Tuareg, national boundaries were invented by powers that didn't really control them, to suit the powers, and alot of border people just ignore them. That is true all over Africa, and in many places in Asia too. If you want a passport you go to which ever country suits you and apply there.

To look at it a different way there isn't really any borders in the Sahara, city x is controlled by Mali, and a couple thousand kilometers away city y is control by Algeria. The Tuareg have for hundreds of years crossed between city x & y, don't obey the laws of either state unless it suits them, so the official frontier is meaningless. Its the effective frontier - which town is controlled by whom - that is important. You can consider that frontier people like the Tuareg either live in all or none of the countries the map tells us they do.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 17-Feb-2009 at 03:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 07:52
By being nomads, are Tuaregs in fact a closed society who generally do not mix with the neighbouring sedentary populations? I have read that the agricultural and urban populations of Niger and Mali often regard them as a nuisanse for their "savage" habits.
 
My question is; have Tuaregs ever given up the nomadic way of life and settled in cities, while still maintaining their identity as Tuaregs?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Feb-2009 at 20:44
I was watching a documentry where they do DNA tests on african americans to find out where they came from, and a DNA test showed that Morgan Freeman is descended from the Songhai and Tuareg people of Niger. I thought this was strange because i saw pictures of tuaregs before and immedaitely thought he looked simliarLOL i can usually identfiy about 1 ethnic group/tribe in every african american person.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thorvald Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Mar-2009 at 10:16
Any connection, culturally or Linquistically between the Tuaregs and the Amazighs?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmarniche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Apr-2009 at 16:40
The Tuareg are the veiled nomads that lived in coastal North Africa where they were called "Mauri" in pre-Islamic times by the Greeks and Romans. They are mainly nomadic peoples but are also related to some sedentary Berber peoples.   Due to slavery and settlement of diverse peoples in North Africa modern Berber speakers are of various biological origins and have diverse cultures although they do share some genes and cultural features. Tuareg and some of the other Berber-speakers are related to East Africans or the Afro-Asiatic group that originated the Berber speech a few thousands years ago.
   Like most original Afro-Asiatic peoples which include the original Berbers - Massufa, Sanhaja, Masmuda, Ketama, Nafusa, etc., women were held in higher esteem, were matrilineal and matrifocal in their social structure. Among many Tuareg women still have a relatively high status.  
    Tuareg still have classes that are virtually slaves like the Takili or Iklan , they also have  vassal classes who are often smiths called Inaden, Imraden or Inghad. Noble status Tuaregs where the dark indigo veils and were rarely seen withouth the veil.
    Tuareg living in Algeria were not indifferent when European colonials arrived.  Can't remember which side they were on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmarniche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Apr-2009 at 17:01
Tuareg are called Imoshagh, Amazegzel or Tamashek in Africa and in their own dialects.  They descend from the peoples called "Mauri Mazazeces" in ancient Morocco and Algeria an "Ethiopian" people of the "Expositio Totius Mundi" (a Roman document) who harassed the pentapolis in Libya and were settled and living among the Greeks, Romans, Scythians, Armeni, Vandali and Phrygians according to Byzantine documents.  The Mazikes or Mashek were a people of Ethiopic affiliation originally extending falong the Red Sea in Africa and southern Arabia to North Africa.  Tuareg and all early Berbers claimed to have come from Canaan or Pheonicians and Philistines who came in at least two waves dating from the Hyksoso period. (Canaanites in early Arabaian tradition were a people of southern Hejaz in Arabia extending into Yemen who settled in Syria).  Several Muslim writers including Al Madani and Ibn Khaldun claimed the Berbers claimed to be the sons of Berr who were said to descend from Mazigh ibn son of  Canaan Ibn Ham Ibn Nuh (Noah). The tradition found cited in Nafousa: Berber Community in Western Libya, Omar Sahli citing Dabbuz. Retrieved on-line from http://www.tawalt.com/monthly/fessato_1.pdf , July. 12, 2008.  Also mentioned in The Penny Cyclop√¶dia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge By Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge 1835,  p. 263.  Imoshagh or Tuareg still claim descent from the Phoenicians and their script called Ti'finagh is said to mean "belonging to the Phoenicians". The name "Masek" is still found as a tribal name among south Arabian Mahra who resemble the Tuareg.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Apr-2009 at 17:05
I found a bit misleading this interpretation:
 
"The Tuareg are the veiled nomads that lived in coastal North Africa where they were called "Mauri" in pre-Islamic times by the Greeks and Romans. They are mainly nomadic peoples but are also related to some sedentary Berber peoples.   Due to slavery and settlement of diverse peoples in North Africa modern Berber speakers are of various biological origins and have diverse cultures although they do share some genes and cultural features"
 
First, the so called "Mauri" weren't the Tuaregs but the Berbers, particularly the people Romans knew (those who lived at the coast of the Mediterranean sea).
 
Second, the "caucasians"  or sedentary Berbers are by far more numerous than the Tuaregs, and they are more representative of the term Berber as a whole that the mixed group of Berber origins called the Tuaregs.
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmarniche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Apr-2009 at 17:29
Second, the "caucasians"  or sedentary Berbers are by far more numerous than the Tuaregs, and they are more representative of the term Berber as a whole that the mixed group of Berber origins called the Tuaregs.
 
 
Dr.  Bernard Lewis in, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, writes Ibn Qutayba (828-899) says Wah ibn Munabbih said; "Ham begat Kush ibn Mah, Kanani ibn Ham and Fut ibn Ham .... Kush and Kana'ans descendants are the various races of blacks:  Nubians Zanj, Qaran , Zaghawa, Ethiopians, Cipts, and Berbers."  (Kitab al Ma'arif ed. Therwat Ukasha, snd ed.  {Cairo, 1969} p. 26.  
 
Munabbih spoke of the Berbers of his time - not modern Berbers who derive from all the peoples who have settled or been brought into North Africa.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Apr-2009 at 18:04

"Kush and Kana'ans descendants are the various races of blacks:  Nubians Zanj, Qaran , Zaghawa, Ethiopians, Cipts, and Berbers."

So, Dr.  Bernard Lewis is the final authority in deciding Berbers are Blacks... Gimme a break.
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmarniche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Apr-2009 at 18:32
The Imakitan or Ukatemeni branch of the Tuareg originated in ancient Numidia.  The Lamtuna today called Auelimidden of Niger according to Leo AFricanus also originated in Numidia.  The Imaghiren of modern Burkina Faso come from the Tu-Maghuri or Makhuritae of Libya. The Zenata composed of the Nafusawa of the Draa and Ifuraces or Iforas Tuareg anciently called  Pharusii and Afran by the Romans occupied Tripoli and Tripolitania.  The Amazeg or Mazikes also occupied Algeria, Libya and Tripolitania in Tunis and made up the "Ethiopian" luxury slaves of the Romans.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Apr-2009 at 19:19
If the Tuaregs were matrilineal, does that mean that family surnames are passed through the mother rather than the father?
Is it common for women to hold important public positions?
What is the role of Islam in Tuareg society? Do they practice the usual Islamic customs such as Ramadan and abstinence from pork and alcohol?


Edited by calvo - 30-Apr-2009 at 19:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmarniche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-May-2009 at 16:31
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

If the Tuaregs were matrilineal, does that mean that family surnames are passed through the mother rather than the father?
Is it common for women to hold important public positions?
What is the role of Islam in Tuareg society? Do they practice the usual Islamic customs such as Ramadan and abstinence from pork and alcohol?
 
It means they traced their line through their mothers name (of course surnames were a mainly Western attribution, Africans of course didn't originally use surnames in the sense that we in the West now use them).   And one wasn't permitted to become Tuareg unless one's mother was Tuareg, ast today. There were also matrifocal inheritance practices. i think the custom of not eating pork was pre-Islamic among many Afro-Asiatic speakers and related to dynastic Egyptian and thus Jewish culture, In any case i don't think pigs or wild boar were that accessible to the nomads in the region of the Sahel and Sahara.  I do know the Tuaregs are Muslim and probably some of the more dogmatic or even radical muslims of the western Sahara were Tuareg as numbers of Auelimidden (Lamtuna)  were originally of Almoravid affiliation. 
    Apparently many Tuareg of today do not observe Islam strictly and sometimes although observing many tenants and feasts of Islam they excuse the fasting required for Ramadan. Like many Africans and Arabian and in fact Muslims, they believe in and respect the Djinn some in fact making contracts with the spiritual world (as with scorpion elementals) for protection to survive in their environment. 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-May-2009 at 16:43
Tuaregs are obviously nomads, and mixed with peoples in both extremes of theirs commercial routes.
For me, it doesn't make sense to consider them as if they were the "average" or "standar" berber.
People of the Maghreb has a distinctive look who isn't the same than the Tuaregs of Mali, Ghana or the country that today is called Mauritania.
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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