As the most famous Malian woman alive, Oumou Sangare embodies this alluring dichotomy like no one else. She’s the epitome of tough femininity; beautiful, elegant, determined, independent, talented…and, well, hard.
That’s why the Festivals in the Desert are so important. They give a region previously ravaged by conflict and insecurity the chance to show a peaceful face to the world. They give the chance for the Touareg to prove that far from being bandits, they are a simply another African people in the pressure cooker of enforced modernisation, desperately trying to adapt their millennial nomadic culture to the merciless realities ofa modern globalised world.