Introduction / History Although the origin and early history of the Tuaregs (more politely known as Tamacheqs) are undefined, these Berber nomads appear to have traveled down from North Africa in a series of migrations as early as the seventh century. By the end of the fourteenth century, Tamacheq tribes had established themselves as far south as the Nigerian border.
The chief characteristics of the Tamacheqs include the unity of their language, their alphabet, their complex social organization, and their class structure. They are divided into various subgroups such as the Hoggars.
Where are they located? Hoggar Tamacheqs have settled in Algeria and Niger.
What are their lives like? In direct contrast to Arab custom, Tamacheq men rather than women wear veils. They do this to show respect to foreigners and in-laws. However, many men often leave their faces uncovered in family camps or while traveling. Veils worn by Tamacheq men are called tidjelmoust. The most preferred veils are dyed indigo.
Each tribe is governed by a chief and an assembly of adult males. Succession to headship is matrilineal (passed down through the lineage of the women). Tamacheq society also has an elaborate structure. The main division is between the noble class and the various serf classes. In most Tamacheq groups, there are also whole tribes of marabouts. These are "holy men" who are believed to possess the powers of protection and healing, even after death.
What are their beliefs? Though the Tamacheqs are 100 percent Sunni Muslims, 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. Protective charms or amulets are commonly worn, and belief in spirits is widespread. There are several marabouts living among them, some of whom run Islamic schools.
What are their needs? Only portions of the New Testament have been translated into their heart languages, and there are no other reported resources. There are no followers of Christ among the Hoggar, which means that they must hear the gospel from someone of another people group.
Prayer Points * Ask the Lord to send loving followers of Christ from others parts of Africa to Niger to share Jesus Christ with the Hoggar Tamacheqs.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge among each Tamacheq group.
* Pray that God's favor will surround mission agencies focusing on the Tamacheq people. * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language. * Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people. * Pray for Gospel messages to become available in audio format for this people group.