Nemadi, a traditional group of hunters from west Africa, slowly disappear - GulfToday

Nemadi, a traditional group of hunters from west Africa, slowly disappear

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Ahmadou(57), from the small Nemadi (hunters) tribe in Eastern Mauritania, is seen with his camel.

In the current times when it’s almost impossible to keep traditions and cultures that we know intact, a group of people belonging to a west African tribe are almost disappearing.

In the arid West African country of Mauritania, the way of life of the traditional group of hunters known as the Nemadi is slowly disappearing.

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Ahmed(20), from the small Nemadi (hunters) tribe in Eastern Mauritania, pulls water out of one of the few water wells.

Experts say the small ethnic group of black Mauritanians, also known as N'Madi, now numbers in the hundreds at most, their livelihoods hit by repeated droughts and declining game.

Those that are left mostly scour the desert for ostriches, oryxes and white antelope to hunt.

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Cheih, from the small Nemadi (hunters) tribe in Eastern Mauritania collects wood to burn in Mauritania.

In January, AFP travelled for five days between the desert hamlets of Tichitt and Aratane in central Mauritania, guided by three Nemadi: Ahmadou, his son Ahmed and a third man named Cheih.

All three, dressed in tunic-like robes, have abandoned their traditional way of life to become camel herders.

More and more Nemadi have given up their old ways since the great drought in the Sahel region in the 1970s. True hunter-gathers are now few and far between.

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Cheih(L) and Ahmed(R), from the small Nemadi (hunters) tribe in Eastern Mauritania are seen leading a caravan.

In Loudeyatt, one of the nomadic Nemadi's campsites, a dozen tents are home to about 50 people, and a few bleating goats.

There is also a French-language school, although it has few supplies.

The Nemadi have few physical possessions and traditionally, no livestock.

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Cheih, from the small Nemadi (hunters) tribe in Eastern Mauritania is seen with a camel.

They are marginalised in wider Mauritanian society for their poverty, according to experts.

But some, such as Ahmadou, now own camels, a traditional symbol of wealth in Mauritanian society.

Agence France-Presse