By Ibrahim Siraj
(Who is at Ingall, Agadez, Niger Republic)
Many Nigerians are attending this year’s ”Cure Saleé” festival at Ingall town, some one-hundred sixty kilometres Southwestern the ancient city of Agadez in the Niger Republic.
The three-day festival, which was declared open by President Bazoum, is officially billed to end today but may be extended to Sunday.
Cure Saleé is an annual event that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Touregs and Nomads, including camel and horse racing, music and dance. It draws attendance from across Niger Republic, Africa and the world. Also in attendance are traditional rulers from Niger, Nigeria and other neighbouring countries.
Started several centuries ago, the festival brings together various Tuareg clans and Wodaabe Nomads to celebrate the end of the rainy season and to mark the beginning of a movement down south to survive the upcoming dry season.
The salty waters of Ingall are believed to possess medicinal and healing powers that can cure all diseases afflicting humans and animals.
Cure Saleé also serves as a melting point for several social, business, tourism and friendship activities.
The 2021 well-attended event is coming after the Covid-19 lockdown forced the cancellation of the festival in 2020.
Attending the event from Nigeria are scholars, researchers, tourists, journalists, photographers and other business and media personalities.
Declaring the 2021 Cure Saleé open, President Mohamed Bazoum, who attended the festival for the first time since he became President, welcomed all guests and assured the organisers of his government’s continued support.
Speaking to The Daily Reality on this significance of the festival, a foremost Kano Palace historian and researcher, Malam Nasiru Wada, said Cure Saleé offers students of culture like himself the opportunity to learn how life is defined by people living in the desert and to appreciate the difference between Africa’s divergent cultures. He listed the economic advantages of the festival to include tourism, inflow and outflow of goods and services, as well as job opportunities.
Also speaking, a Kano-based documentary photographer, Muhammad Mubarak aka Moha Sheikh, said his coming to Ingall is a follow-up to his participation at similar cultural event, Bianou, in Agadez last year. He said the two festivals had afforded him the opportunity to see and document culture.
Another documentary photographer, Emmanuel Abor, from Abuja, said the festival is a celebration of cultural preservation in the technological age.
At the end of the festival, prizes will be distributed to winners of different categories of competitions.