CARAVANS OF SALT - TUAREG TRADE ROUTES IN NIGER
With the naira's devaluation and increasing bureaucracy, the salt caravans of the Tuareg tend not to enter Nigeria so much. Once salt is sold and millet purchased, the Tuareg may seek out transport or haulage jobs - conveying goods from village to village.
In the past, the transport of ground nuts was a routine occupation for the Tuareg, but today, it is no longer profitable. Now is the time to buy presents for wives and families, as well as footwear and clothes. Then, towards the late spring, just before summer the rains fall, the caravan returns home.
Above Photographs. Even when caravans don't enter Nigeria, Tuareg still visit Kano, where the 'alecho' is manufactured, by public transport. The 'alecho' - a traditional indigo head veil is a prized possession, only worn during ceremonies and special events. He may also buy for family and friends. Caravaneer examines a pair of sandals in the market. Most commodities are cheaper in the south. Buying millet from a Hausa family near the border with Nigeria. Millet forms the staple diet for the caravaneer's family, and any surplus is bartered for dates in Bilma the following season.
Above Photographs. A young man applies eye-liner with the carbon rod of a discarded battery. As with many African cultures, facial adornment may be practised by both sexes. Talata Mafara - close of market. With constant devaluation of the naira and growing bureaucracy, Tuareg don't enter Nigeria as much. One advantage, however, is that pillars can be sold in bulk to salt dealers. Goatskin sacks - 'amital' are now refilled with millet. Similar straw mats - 'shereben' as for protecting salt pillars are now used for millet sacks.
The Bradshaw Foundation would like to thank Franco Paolinelli for his text & photographs used to publish this section of the Bradshaw Foundation website.
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