"You should not desire a luxury you do not have. We always say that fortune is when everyone is happy.
Everyone is happy if he wants to know he is happy."
"Footsteps in Africa, A Nomadic Journey" is a cinematic feature length ethnographic film of 67 minutes. It is an exciting visual narrative, art documentary accompanied
by a diverse musical score. Shot in January 2006 as a road trip film in the Sahara desert of Mali, Kiahkeya performers and a renegade camera team lived with the nomadic
Tuareg/ Kel Tamashek tribes in remote areas of Mali near Mauritania, and visited Tuareg Festivals.
The thematics of "Footsteps in Africa, A Nomadic Journey" question the modern way of life which separates man from nature. The Nomad is aware of how modern man forgets
that all of humans material possessions are just a false sense of security and freedom. The Tuareg choose to live in austerity, a truth of extremes that is the poetry of
the Tuareg way of life, living in solidarity with the rhythems of nature.
"A nomad at heart are those who seek for freedom"
"Footsteps in Africa, A Nomadic Journey" documents a universal tale of humans finding their path/freedom in life by living in simplicity with nature. Documented in a
moment to moment manner the viewer experiences their mode of life, their relation to the earth and their perception on time. The viewer witnesses the Tuaregs mode of
life, a survival from the soul. "Footsteps in Africa, A Nomadic Journey" captures the people in their element, investigating their music, their dance, their survival
skills, and the rituals that the Tuareg carry within to keep their culture and heritage alive. Combined with commentaries of tribal chiefs, healers and seekers, the
film allows the viewer to think and question the modern way of ‘development’, and how it differs from the simplicity of life and its cycles.
Footsteps denote rhythm, dance and music, but they also suggest the lively hood that nomads have chosen to live in accordance with the natural flow of life. Footsteps
are a reminder of the harsh realities of resistance that nomadic peoples live in difficult environmental and political climates on the continent. To speak with your
feet, is to speak in action, traversing and living in the Sahara.
Africa as a continent holds reservoirs of diverse and colorful tribal wisdom for the rest of the world. Mother of many remote cultures, the African continent has allowed
many people to live in relatively undisturbed simplicity in contrast to the industrialized world. Mali being one of the poorest countries in Africa has enabled ancient
tribal cultures to thrive continuously, of which sustainable survival is elemental. The nomadic elders of Africa cradle mystic tribal relations to the stars and the land,
and have integrated these ways into their ancient society.
THE TUAREG and "FOOTSTEPS IN AFRICA, A NOMADIC JOURNEY"
The Tuareg are thousands of years old descended migrants of the Magreb, and stretching further back they descend from the people of Yemen, and even before that from
India. In Northern Africa, as in Mali, their nomadic lifestyle has been countered many times by governments and sedentary people, thus leading to numerous rebellions. In
1995 a peace treaty was signed in Mali between the Tuareg and the government, thus truly instating them as an autonomous minority. Nevertheless their status, lifestyle,
land and people are still threatened, but still the richness of the cultural background remains rooted to ancient wisdom.
The Spiral Symbology
The spiral is an ancient Tuareg cosmogenic symbol used in Tuareg silver work and in their ancient writing known as Tifinagh. Reflected in their jewelry, the Tuareg use
pictographic symbology and cosmogenic mystical maps that represent their outlook on life. To a nomad the definition of time and space are in direct relation to the flow
of nature and life.
This cosmogenic way of life was fully integrated into the foundation of the film making process. The filming, editing and animation are all based on non linear
storytelling, as life itself, the film is fashioned in a cyclical form of evolution.
The Director Kathi von Koerber and editor CC Treadway wove the voices of the nomadic Tuareg community of the north western province of Mali into one
cause, the cause is to remind the world community of where we come from. The animation by Joao Amorim interconnects the livelihood of the Tuareg with their cosmogenic
philosophy. Thus the bridge to an integral universal existence is established, moving away from the linear logistics of modern civilization.
"The more we advance in science and modernity the more we distance ourselves from nature."
Mahmoud Ag Mohammed former Chief of the Gourmat region.