1972 / 52 minutes

Directed by
Charlie Nairn
Country of production
United Kingdom
Disappearing World Series

This film is about a group of nomadic Tuareg living high up in the Hoggar Mountains near Tamanrasset in Algeria. The main focus of the film is the collapse of the former economic basis of their camps. In 1962 the Algerian government banned the system of slavery and contract labour which had helped to keep the Tuareg camps supplied with grain. Now, instead of undertaking 500 mile long trading journeys to Niger, Tuareg buy grain in Tamanrasset with money obtained form selling cheap leather goods to the burgeoning tourist trade. The commentary, by Jeremy Keenan, also introduces aspects of the Tuareg kinship system, and material about the social life of the group. The second part of the film concentrates on the devastating effects of the recent drought on this way of life. The pasture is now so poor that camps have to move more frequently, and so traditional patterns of life are being abandoned in favour of a sedentary existence as cultivators alongside the Tuareg’s former slaves.

R. F. Murphy, 1974. Review of the film. American Anthropologist, Vol. 76, pp. 212–213.

Language and subtitles
English (no subtitles)
North and Northeast Africa
Social Organisation Social Change Socioeconomic conditions Nomads and Nomadism

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