“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. The film 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 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 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.