Hip Deep in Mali: The Tuareg Predicament

The confederations and clans collectively known as the Tuareg descend from the oldest inhabitants of North Africa. They lead a mostly nomadic existence across the Sahara Desert, in the lands we now know as Algeria, Libya, Niger and Mali. Tuareg communities have long felt neglected by independent African governments, especially in Mali, which has endured a succession of rebellions. In 2012, a Tuareg uprising led to a year-long crisis in which the Malian north separated from the country and fell under harsh control by Islamic extremists. Ironically, these extremists banned music, which in the hands of modern bands like Tinariwen had been a crucial means for expressing Tuareg aspirations. This broadcast unravels this complex history and provides a vivid portrait of the Tuareg predicament in Mali today. The program samples a rich variety of Tuareg music and includes conversations with Tuareg musicians and cultural authorities in the wake of Mali’s crisis, as well as with University of Houston anthropologist Susan Rasmussen, who has been researching and writing about Tuareg culture for over 30 years, and veteran journalist and author Andy Morgan.