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The Saharawi

The majority of the Saharawi of the Western Sahara live in exile in refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria. © Danielle Van Brunt Smith

The Saharawis are the indigenous people of the Western Sahara. The Saharawis are an ethnically unique and culturally distinct people in Northwest Africa. Originally descendants of the Sanhaja Berbers of the westernmost regions of the Sahara, today the Saharawis combine a unique mix of Arab and Berber influences. The Majority of Saharawis live in exile in refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria. The number of Saharawi refugees is estimated between 150,000 and 200,000. The majority of the remainder live in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, comprising somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 people. Most have lived in exile for some 30 years, making them one of the world’s most protracted refugee populations. This collection of photographs has been catagorised into six sections which cover different aspects of Western Saharan refugee life.


All photographs © Danielle Van Brunt Smith.

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creative commons logo (CC) BY-NC-ND This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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Last updated Jun 09, 2011