Introduction / History
Tuaregs (aka, Tamacheqs) are descended from Berbers in the region that is now Libya, and also from ancient Saharan peoples. Early in their history, Algerian Tamacheq people were involved in slave trading. Those who were not used as slaves were assimilated into Tamacheq society. This is one of the reasons they are sometimes despised by other people groups and given the derisive name, "Tuareg." These tough people are considered trouble-makers, sometimes for good reason, and sometimes out of prejudice.
Following the independence of African countries in the 1960s, Tamacheq territory was artificially divided into modern nations: Niger, Mali, Algeria, Libya, and Burkina Faso. The Tamacheqs adopted camel nomadism, along with its distinctive form of social organization, from camel-herding Arabs about two thousand years ago.
Where are they located?
Most of the Algerian Tamacheqs live in the southeastern part of Algeria, but some live further south in Niger.
What are their lives like?
For most Algerian Tamacheqs in Niger, if there weren't tents available, there would be no homes at all. Camels are the center of their economic activity and lifestyle. They provide milk, meat, hair for textiles and clothing, as well as muscle for moving equipment and heavy loads. This has been the national routine for 2,000 years now, since the camel was introduced by the Arabs. Tamacheqs are known to enjoy a cup of hot, strong, sweet tea, particularly while visiting with foreigners who come to experience their homeland.
What are their beliefs?
Though the Tamacheqs are virtually all Sunni Muslim, they have a reputation among other Muslims for being lukewarm in their faith. They practice a passive form of Islam, infused with folk beliefs and magic. Most do not even celebrate the most important Muslim Fast of Ramadan.
What are their needs?
There are few known Tamacheq believers in Niger. Prayer is the key to reaching the Tamacheq people with the gospel.
* Pray that the small number of believers will rise to the challenge of taking the gospel to their people.
* Pray that gospel broadcasts will soon be produced in their language.
* Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Tamacheq peoples in Niger.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Algerian Tamacheqs who will boldly declare the gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among them that will reach the Algerian Tamacheq in Algeria as well as Niger.
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.
ReferencesView Tuareg, Algerian in all countries.