MALI – MALI

Devojke ispred svoje kuce od blata-Girls in front of their mud house

Devojke ispred svoje kuce od blata-Girls in front of their mud house

Festival Tuarega na severu zemlje-A Touareg festival in the North of the country

Festival Tuarega na severu zemlje-A Touareg festival in the North of the country

Festival Tuarega na severu zemlje-A Touareg festival in the North

Festival Tuarega na severu zemlje-A Touareg festival in the North

Iz ritma u trans-From the rhythm to ecstasy

Iz ritma u trans-From the rhythm to ecstasy

Jahac na kamili-A camel rider

Jahac na kamili-A camel rider

Lokalni krojac-Local tailor

Lokalni krojac-Local tailor

Molitva na otvorenom za Kurban-bajram-A prayer in the open during Eid al-Adha

Molitva na otvorenom za Kurban-bajram-A prayer in the open during Eid al-Adha

Ni voce, ni povrce, samo jarici-No fruits nor vegetables, only small goats

Ni voce, ni povrce, samo jarici-No fruits nor vegetables, only small goats

Polazak na put-On a desert trip

Polazak na put-On a desert trip

Pripreme za trku kamila-Preparations for the camel race

Pripreme za trku kamila-Preparations for the camel race

Proizvodnja kamiljeg sira-Camel cheese factory

Proizvodnja kamiljeg sira-Camel cheese factory

Ritualno ofarbanih lica i spremni za ples-Ritually painted faces and ready for dance

Ritualno ofarbanih lica i spremni za ples-Ritually painted faces and ready for dance

Ritualno okupljanje-A ritual gathering

Ritualno okupljanje-A ritual gathering

Table soli-Salt to carry

Table soli-Salt to carry

Tuarezi na kamilama-The Touaregs on camels

Tuarezi na kamilama-The Touaregs on camels

U zaklonu od pustinjskog sunca-In a shelter away from the desert sun

U zaklonu od pustinjskog sunca-In a shelter away from the desert sun

Zensko okupljanje-Women's gathering

Zensko okupljanje-Women’s gathering

Zivot u pustinji-Living in the desert

Zivot u pustinji-Living in the desert

Mali nazivaju zemljom Dogona, prema imenu drevnog naroda, koji tamo živi u
regionu Mopti. To je veoma poseban život, bogat mitologijom, ceremonijama i
običajima, koji ovaj narod čine jedinstvenim, tako da se kaže kako prosečna
porodica u Maliju broji pet članova: otac, majka, dvoje dece i francuski
antropolog. Okružena je Saharom, koja im znači sve, i kroz nju teče reka
Niger, koja daje život, ovoj, po svemu posebnoj zemlji, naseljenoj brojnim
etničkim grupama. To su plemena koja žive u zajedništvu, u kome svako od
njih poštuje i veruje u svoje duhove i svoja božanstva na jedinstveni način.
Bilo da su to saharski narodi Tuarezi i Mavari, stočari Songaji, Senufi, ili
mistični Dogoni, drevni ceremonijalni plesovi, jedinstvene maske, način
farbanja lica i ruku, kao i odeća između zapadnoafričke i tradicionalne
muslimanske, čine etnokolorit koji vas istovremeno ostavlja nemim i
uzbuđenim.
Moj doživljaj Malija povezan je sa festivalom Tuarega u Tamadašu, na severu
zemlje, gde smo, džipovima, uz stalno lutanje i gubljenje tragova ili bilo
kakvih oznaka koje bi nas vodile ka odredištu, došli iz susednog Nigera.
Susret je, međutim, bio nestvaran: Crvena pustinja sa improvizovanim
šatorima od goveđe kože i vrećama za spavanje, toaletima u rastinju iza
susedne dine i jelovnikom od tvrdo pečenog kozjeg mesa i gustog preslatkog
čaja. Ali, bio je to “čaj u Sahari”, na tvrdom pesku u smiraj dana, pred
celovečernje koncerte različitih muzičko-plesnih grupa, čiji je ritam uvek
vodio u trans. Čuveni muzičar Ali Farka samo je jedan od izdanaka ove
muzike, koja je u meni izazivala osećanje puta u nepoznato. Sada se ta
muzika ne samo čuje, već i oseća kroz lagani trans, u koji vas uvodi stalnim
ponavljanjem misterioznog ritma. To se na kraju pretvara u sve brže
ponavljanje ritmova, praćeno jednom suludom igrom do poslednjeg daha. I
tako, celu noć.
Pre podne je predviđeno za odmor i trgovinu, jer su se ovde okupila plemena
iz udaljenih krajeva, sve do legendarnog Timbuktua, odakle karavani i danas
prenose table soli, kao i stotinama godina ranije. Popodne su trke kamila u
punoj ratnoj i ceremonijalnoj opremi, iz čijih se kopita oblaci peska
slivaju, zaklanjajući zalazak sunca na horizontu, i kroz tako zamagljenu
sliku vode nas u 1001 saharsku noć.
Naredne dane provodimo na kamilama, a noći pod šatorima na toplom saharskom
pesku. Prolazimo pustinju, ispijajući po ko zna koji čaj, mali, gusti,
slatki napitak, koji se desetak puta, sa više od jednog metra visine, vešto
presipa iz ibrika u tankom mlazu, koji nepogrešivo pogađa šoljicu.
Rituali su život ove zemlje i oni se, izgleda, nikada ne menjaju.

Januar 2004.
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This country is sometimes called the land of the Dogon, after the name of
the ancient people living in the Mopti region. They have a peculiar way of
life, rich with mythology, ceremonies and customs which make this people
totally unique – it is said that an average Mali family has five members:
father, mother, two children and a French anthropologist. This country,
different in many respects, is inhabited by numerous ethnic groups and it is
surrounded by the Sahara that means everything to its people, as much as the
life-giving River Niger. The tribes co-exist in the same space, while every
one of them has its own unique spirits and deities that they worship in
their own way. Whether it is the Saharan people of Tuareg and the Maures,
the cattle-raising Songhay, the Senufo or the mystical Dogon, the ancient
ceremonial dances, unique masks, ways of colouring their faces and hands, as
well as their clothes which are a mix between the West African and
traditional Muslim, all contribute to the colourful folklore which at the
same time makes you excited and speechless.
My experience of Mali is linked to the Tuareg Festival in Tamadacht in the
North of the country where we arrived from the neighbouring Niger in jeeps,
without any signs or sense of direction and we kept getting lost all the
time. However once we got there what we saw appeared surreal. Red sandy
desert with makeshift tents made of goats skin and sleeping bags, toilets in
the bush just around the next sand dune and the menu consisting of hard,
roasted goat meat and too sweet clotted tea. But it was all like a scene
from The Sheltering Sky, tea in Sahara sitting on the hard sand surface, at
sunset, while anticipating the whole evening of various musical and dancing
troupes bringing on the rhythm which always leads into trance. The famous
musician Ali Farka is only one of the proponents of this music, which made
me feel like I was travelling into the unknown. Now, you can not only hear
this music, but feel it through a gentle trance to which you are guided by
the constant repetition of the mystical rhythm. In the end,  rhythms
accelerate in repetition and a mad dancing accompanies them, until you are
breathless. And it goes on like that throughout the night.
The mornings here are given to rest and trade, as many tribes have come from
afar, as far as the legendary Timbuktu from where slates of salt are carried
by caravans in the same way they did a hundred years ago. In the afternoon
there are camel races – camels run in full warrior and ceremonial gear,
their hooves stirring clouds of dust obstructing the view of the sunset on
the horizon; thus we are transported by this hazy picture into the 1001
Saharan nights.
We spend the following days riding on camels and we spend the nights under
the tents, on warm Saharan sand. We go through the desert drinking countless
cups of tea, this thick sweet beverage which is poured many times from the
teapot into a cup from one metre above,  with the thin jet of liquid always
hitting the cup with precision.
Rituals are the very life of this country and they seem never to change.

January 2004

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