This is Moussa. He is the chief of his village of 500 people, not far from Agadez. He was selected as chief over 10 years ago, due to his contributions to his society and commerce. The major industry of the Touareg people is their highly intricate silver jewelry. Moussa travels widely throughout Africa and Europe, spreading the beautiful treasures around the world and bringing income into his village.
The amulet on his head contains a Koranic verse of protection given to him by his people.
The Touareg people inhabit the Western Sahara countries of Libya, Algeria, Niger and Mali. In Tuareg society women do not traditionally wear the veil, whereas men do. The most famous Tuareg symbol is the indigo blue-colored veil. The men’s facial covering originates from the belief that such action wards off evil spirits. It may have related instrumentally from the need for protection from the harsh desert sands as well. Taking on the veil is associated with the rite of passage to manhood; men begin wearing a veil when they reach maturity. The veil usually conceals their face, excluding their eyes and the top of the nose.