Introduction / History The Idaksahak are a North African (light-skinned) nomadic people. Associated with them are descendants of their former slaves (dark-skinned) as well as craftsmen, descendants of various ethnic groups. All these speak the Tadaksahak language. They live in mobile tents, consisting of a frame covered with leather (nowadays some use canvas). The tent poles are artistically carved. Mats of local grass or millet stalks can be put up as a wall for protection against the wind in the cooler season. A few live in mud brick houses in places where a reliable water source makes it possible to live year-round. Starting in rainy season, from July to September, they move across their territory to find pasture for their animals and water from waterholes and wells.
Goats, sheep and camels (dromedaries) are their most common flocks, while some have a hardy breed of cattle. All household goods are transported on donkeys. During years of drought in the eighties, even without outside help the Idaksahak got along better than most and kept more of their animals alive. So today they are often well off economically, though they don't show this in their lifestyle. Irregular rainfalls continue to threaten their existence as nomads in the area. They sell their livestock in exchange for needs other than what they get from their flocks like millet, tea, sugar, salt, tobacco and clothes. The area's central cattle market is in Menaka. Typically craftsmen make other household items, who themselves live a nomadic life.
The population is Muslim, with some animistic practices (folk Islam). Most children get a basic Koranic training, often before any other education, learning to read and write Arabic. As a people ignored or patronized by others, the Idaksahak are skeptical towards outside influence, but their language in writing has potential to reach them. Two development organizations, active in the area since 1995 and 1997, are ready to try this.