The Nemadi (Ikoku) are small hunting tribe of of 400. Nemadi people are mainly hunters. Subsistence farming and animal herding are also part of their lives.
The name "Nemadi" itself appears to come from Soninke, where it means "master of dogs."
In the arid West African country of Mauritania, the way of life of the traditional group of hunters known as the Nemadi is slowly disappearing.
Experts say the small ethnic group of black Mauritanians, also known as N’Madi.
The Nemadi have few physical possessions and traditionally, no livestock. Those that are left mostly scour the desert for ostriches, oryxes and white antelope to hunt.
Now numbers in the hundreds at most, their livelihoods hit by repeated droughts and declining game.
According to some sources, their language is a dialect of Hassaniyya. According to others a mixture of Zenaga, Soninke and Hassaniyya.
They live in what the vid calls the ‘Sarakolle’ desert. It seems Sarakolle also means Soninke, a tribe who live along the Malian border but who are indigenous to Africa and not Moors.
Nemadi (Ikoku) are located in eastern Mauritania. The Nemadi used to live along the Dhar Tichit beyond Oualata. There is a place call Aguelt Nemadi (Ogueilet en Nmadi) about a hundred miles NNE of Tidjikja or 300 miles NW of Oualata. That might mean ‘Nemadi waterhole’ but lost in the dunes, it looks a pretty lonesome spot on the map, perhaps a watering hole on the old caravan route between Tichit and Ouadane.
In Loudeyatt, one of the nomadic Nemadi’s campsites, a dozen tents are home to about 50 people, and a few bleating goats. There is also a French-language school, although it has few supplies.
Nemadi (Ikoku) people are 65 percent Islamic, and 35 percent practice only traditional religion.
They doesn’t wear the usual blue robe and his tent is not a Moorish raima, but more of a bent wood humpy. His camel too has no saddle to speak of and it looks like he sits behind the hump. But other items like the three-legged tea table are also used by Moors.
More and more Nemadi have given up their old ways since the great drought in the Sahel region in the 1970s. True hunter-gathers are now few and far between. Their livelihoods hit by repeated droughts and declining game.
They are marginalised in wider Mauritanian society for their poverty, according to experts.