The Timbuktu School for Nomads: Across the Sahara in the Shadow of Jihad by Nicholas JubberThe Sahara: a dream-like, far away landscape of Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, The English Patient and Star Wars, and home to nomadic communities whose ways of life stretch back millennia. Today its a teeth-janglingly dangerous destination, where the threat of jihadists lurks just over the horizon. Following in the footsteps of 16th century traveller Leo Africanus, Nicholas Jubber went on a turbulent adventure to the forgotten places of North Africa and the legendary Timbuktu.
Once the seat of African civilization and home to the richest man who ever lived, this mythic city is now scarred by terrorist occupation and is so remote its own inhabitants hail you with the greeting, Welcome to the middle of nowhere.
From the cattle markets of the Atlas, across the Western Sahara and up the Niger river, Nicholas joins the camps of the Tuareg, Fulani, Berbers, and other communities, to learn about their craft, their values and their place in the world.
The Timbuktu School for Nomads is a unique look at a resilient city and how the nomads pit ancient ways of life against the challenges of the 21st century.
Timbuktu's Treasure Trove
Life in Timbuktu: how the ancient city of gold is slowly turning to dust
The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region , one of the eight administrative regions of Mali. It had a population of 54, in the census. Timbuktu started out as a seasonal settlement and became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory, and slaves. It became part of the Mali Empire early in the 14th century. In the first half of the 15th century, the Tuareg tribes took control of the city for a short period until the expanding Songhai Empire absorbed the city in
Maps related to Timbuktu
With the recapture of Timbuktu, only one Islamist stronghold remains to be retaken: the town of Kidal, kilometres north-east of the capital, Bamako. Asked if French troops would press on to try to force the Islamists out of the mountainous north of the country, the French President, Francois Hollande, said: ''Now the Africans can take over …. Joyous … residents welcome French and Malian troops after they entered Timbuktu, which had been occupied for 10 months by radical Islamists. Credit: AFP. Australia will not send troops to support the French-led international intervention, though Britain is reportedly prepared to offer a modest force of up to soldiers for training and other non-combat roles.