Tuareg and Wodaabe herders join some 50,000 nomads gathering in the remote city of Ingall, Niger, for the three-day Cure Salée festival.
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Women steal glimpses of potential mates in front of them. The Wodaabe beauty aesthetic is a distinctive element of the culture that has been handed down through generations.
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The nomadic Wodaabe, also called Bororo, include migrant herders from southern Niger, northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, and the western region of the Central African Republic.
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Tuaregs consider camels to be sacred. Around 5,000 camels attended this year’s festival.
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The Tuareg of the Sahara are also known as ‘men of blue’ because the indigo-blue dyes used on their clothes to protect them from the desert sun often stain their skin. Abbo Ichilane is a respected traditional leader from Iferen village in the Tahoua region.
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Ingall was chosen as the epicenter of the Cure Salée because it is a crossroads for nomadic pastoralists from different parts of the Sahel.
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Traditional and religious Tuareg leaders meet to discuss the challenges that affect Niger’s nomads. These pillars of influence work with international organizations to improve nomadic rights.
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The Gerewol hypnotic songs and dances precede the courtship for which young Wodaabe men prepare themselves with meticulous makeup and feathers in hopes of being chosen by one of the women.