West Africa

About This Project

From Bamako, capital of modern Mali, Peter makes his way towards Djenne, West Africa’s centre of traditional medicine. Along the old Niger River valley slave route, he encounters the Songhai ladies and their wealth of golden ornaments. In Djenne, marabous, guardians of ancient knowledge within black Africa’s oldest madrassas, reveal their secrets of long life and wellbeing. Peter then takes us to the old kingdoms of the dogons and their mystical world of flying men and clairvoyant foxes, learning about herbal tattoos and the origins of shea butter. Descending the steep cliffs of the Bandiagara high plateau, Peter drives towards Douenza between well-hidden villages carved into the stone and endless sand dunes. Here he encounters one of the last of the world’s societies that still venerates nature and fertility deities. Beige, brown and ochre tones stretch towards the horizon as Peter makes his way towards Timbuktu, the mysterious capital of the ancient Mali empire and the meeting point between the Moroccan Berbers, the Tuareg and ultimately Europeans. Timbuktu’s library is one of the oldest in the world, storing ancient texts on beauty canons from the days of Ibn Batuta. Further north, Peter meets the Tuareg women in their caravanserais, proud nomads of the Sahel with their shining blue dresses. They are the bearers of their written language, Tifinagh, and of knowledge and nobility.