Why The Tuareg Of North Africa Wear The Face Veil

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The Tuareg distinguishes between adults and children by wearing a veil. When one attains adulthood, he is permitted to wear the face veil with a silver veil weight attached. When a boy reaches the age of 20, he receives his first veil. When a woman marries, she is given a veil.

The initiation ceremony in which the boy receives the veil is referred to as “anagad” by anthropologist Ines Kohl. A feast is held, and relatives and neighbors are invited to attend the initiation ceremony. Religious scholars recite the first verse of the Koran while a sheep or goat is slaughtered.

The male child will be given his first Tagelmust by his father or maternal uncle, and he is required to wear it for one week, day and night, without taking it off. The Tuareg culture includes the use of a face veil. According to the Horniman Museum and Gardens, a man’s veil is known as Tagelmust in the Tuareg dialect, while a woman’s veil is known as adeko or afar.


There are various theories as to why the Tuareg wear the face veil. According to a study cited by Horniman Museum and Gardens, some wear it to protect against dust and sand in the desert, while others wear it for religious purposes and protection against an evil eye.

The Tuareg believe that the veil protects them from Kel Eru, or dead spirits, who can take over the soul of anyone traveling through the desert. Tuareg women traditionally dye their veils with indigo, which stain their skin. They are sometimes referred to as the “blue people” because of their traditional indigo dyes.

Many people wear a face veil for decorative purposes. In the presence of strangers, especially mothers-in-law, a man is expected to cover his brow, nose, and mouth. In the presence of their fathers-in-law, women draw their veil over their mouths.

According to anthropologist Kohl, lowering or raising the face veil to conceal the mouth is a sign of respect shown by the wearer to whoever he or she is speaking with. To be polite, the veil is raised slightly higher. It is also believed that if a man does not cover his brows, nose, and mouth, he is vulnerable to the effects of an evil eye or mouth.

These traditionally nomadic pastoralists are part of the Berber ethnic confederation of North Africa, which spans the Sahara from far southwestern Libya to southern Algeria, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

The Taureg are known to have dominated trade along the trans-Saharan routes and, as ardent supporters of Islam, oversaw Timbuktu’s growth. Tuaregs call themselves Kel Tamasheq, which means Tamasheq speakers, and Kel Tagelmust, which means veiled people.



Written by How Africa News

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