Niger borders Algeria and Libya to the north, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, and Burkina Faso and Mali to the west.
The country stretches from the middle reaches of the Niger (which flows 500 km through the extreme southwest) over the Sahel zone to far into the Sahara. Most of the country is covered by wide, almost flat areas (200–250 m above sea level). In the middle of the country, the Aïr rises to 2,022 m above sea level. To the east are the sandy deserts of the Ténéré and the Great Erg of Bilma. In the northeast, plateaus (Djado and others) lead over to the Tibesti. In the southeast, Niger has a share of Lake Chad. Most of the land has no runoff to the sea. The rivers that come sporadically from the Aïr are lost in the desert, but provide the water for the oases. The Aïr and Ténéré nature parks have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION
The highly differentiated populations of Niger retain different habits and customs, which the main division between nomads (breeders) and sedentaries (farmers) accentuates. Although the population almost entirely professes the Islamic religion, the government is secular and fundamentalism is found only in a very limited area. Polygamy is widespread, while the Tuaregh retain pre-Islamic customs such as monogamy. Like all other farmers in Niger, the Tuaregh continually wander in search of pastures, water and salt. For their part, the Haussa testify their adherence to Islam already from the arrangement of their conical roof huts with the opening vaulted to Mecca. Among the Islamic festivals, the most popular is that of Tabaski or feast of the ram, in Agadez, in memory of the sacrifice of Abraham. The celebrations of Ramadan and Mulud, the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet, are also very popular. The life of the Bororo, lovers of dances and parties, is more lively. Their most important festival is La cure salée (salty cure), an annual festival celebrated in September, on the occasion of which shepherds gather in the area of In-Gall, particularly green at that time, so that the cattle feed on this very salt-rich herb. The Bororo are a vain people, and the gathering becomes an opportunity to hold a sort of beauty contest, in which, however, the men are parading: in this circumstance they put on make-up and dress up in an elaborate way, showing off their very white teeth and ornaments shimmering; drinking stimulating drinks, they then engage in dances that last for hours. The women will then choose the future spouse. Another test young people undergo is Soro: it is an endurance contest in which you have to resist with a smile on your face, to strong blows that are inflicted on them. In the desert, the Iferouâne oasis has hosted the Festival de l’Aïr since 2000, in December, in which the Tuaregh culture is celebrated. Food in Niger has no particular characteristics: the most common dish is rice with sauces, while the Tuaregh consume yogurt, dates, rice and mutton.
In French or local languages, according to thefreegeography, an indigenous production was born in the 1960s thanks to two self-taught directors. Moustapha Alassane (b.1942) alternated documentaries with animated drawings, short films with medium and feature films such as The Return of an Adventurer (1966), FVVA (1972), which means Femmes Villa Voiture Argent, i.e. social success, Toula ( 1973), on the problem of drought, Kokoa (1985), hilarious cartoon about a fight between chameleons and leopards, followed by Kokoa 2. His work, which almost reinvents the language of cinema, demonstrates poetic imagination and remarkable satirical skills, very effective in striking foreign fashions. Oumarou Ganda (1936-1981), who starred in Moi, un Noir (1959), by French director and ethnologist J. Rouch, also excelled in humor and polemical vigor, as he appears in the three films he left behind: Cabascabo (1969), autobiographical portrait of a former “tough guy” from Indochina; Le wazzou polygame (1970), harsh denunciation of a sect of business religious, Saïtane (1973), who with serene audacity derides the “satanic” phenomenon of maraboutism. In the 1980s, the personalities of Mahamane Bakabé emerged, author of historical feature films, such as Si les cavaliers (1982), and Mustapha Diop, director of Le médecin de Satiré (1983), on the encounter-clash between a doctor and a sorcerer, and Mamy Wata (1990). After 2000, director Rahmatou Kéïta made her critical debut on the European scene with Al’leessi … An African Actress (2004), a documentary that tells the story of Zalika Souley, the first African professional actress who worked since the 1960s. until the mid-1980s.