The Timbuktu School for Nomads: Across the Sahara in the Shadow of Jihad

The Timbuktu School for Nomads: Across the Sahara in the Shadow of Jihad

by Nicholas Jubber


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The Timbuktu School for Nomads: Across the Sahara in the Shadow of Jihad by Nicholas Jubber

The 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 it's 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781857886542
Publisher: Quercus
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Pages: 228
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Jubber moved to Jerusalem after graduating from Oxford University. He'd been working two weeks when the intifada broke out and he started planning to travel the Middle East and East Africa. He has written two previous books, The Prester Quest (winner of the Dolman Prize) and Drinking Arak Off an Ayatollah's Beard(shortlisted for the Dolman Prize). He has written for the Guardian, Observer, and the Globe and Mail.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part 1 The Middle of Nowhere 8

1 City of Gold 9

2 Dinner with the Blue Men 15

3 White Man's Grave 23

The School for Nomads - Lesson One: Baggage 33

Part 3 City 38

4 The God-Blessed Lair of Pigeon Shit 39

5 Learning to Love the Glottal Stop 51

6 Death of a Camel 56

The School for Nomads - Lesson Two: Riding 63

Part 3 Mountain 68

7 The Sultan's Road to Azrou 69

8 Market Forces 77

9 The Hunt for Aziza's Lost Cattle 82

The School for Nomads - Lesson Three: Tracking 92

Part 4 Dunes 97

10 Poets of the Sahara 98

11 The Last Colony in Africa 103

12 Picnic in the Desert 122

The School for Nomads - Lesson Four: Camp 129

Part 5 Plateau 132

13 Iron-Ore Train to the Adrar 133

14 Dancing with Nomads 148

15 Libraries in the Sand 158

The School for Nomads - Lesson Five: Study and Play 166

Part 6 Urban Nomads 171

16 Fishing and F***ing 172

17 City of Spells 190

The School for Nomads - Lesson Six: Lore 199

Part 7 Plain 202

18 Paradise Lost 203

19 Cowboys and Animists 211

20 A Short Walk in the Gondo Bush 219

The School for Nomads - Lesson Seven: Water 232

Part 8 River 236

21 Masters of the River 237

22 Spirits of the Niger 247

The School for Nomads - Lesson Eight: Score 256

23 Lights Out on the Sahara 259

Part 9 The Middle of Nowhere (Revisited) 271

24 Timbuktu the Broken 272

25 Licking the Desert's Wounds 287

Postscript 300

Glossary 304

Notes 307

Bibliography 315

Index 321

Acknowledgements 328

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