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© Alfons Rodríguez  
Tradicional society in a living city
  Without forgetting its important cultural heritage, on our arrival in Walata we will discover a city full of life which will undoubtedly surprise us. This is because its inhabitants, while respecting its history, do not live anchored in the past and strive on a daily basis to improve the economy and the state of their houses and streets. Any traveller interested in other cultures really must visit this city, which, while remaining faithful to its trading past and to its traditional social structure, is looking to tourism for a new source of income to raise its standard of living.

If we want to get to know Walata we must not ignore its social structure. All the towns of El Hawd are powerfully hierarchical and this city is no exception. All the families are grouped by kinship in different tribes or 'qaba'il', which in turn form a hierarchical pyramid in which men and women find their place according to their social and economic standing: traders, herdsmen, scholars, hunters...

Historically, traditional Walata society was divided into free men (ahrar), traders, herdsmen and intellectuals, and their slaves, whose descendants, the harratin, make up approximately two thirds of Walata's current population.

Some of the most important of the city's tribes or qaba'il are the Surafa, considered direct descendants of the prophet Mohamed and therefore the highest-ranking nobles, and the Al-Amhayib, who claim to be the city's founders. Also to be found in Walata society are the Awlad Dawud, Awlad Nasir, Nemadi and Kunta, one of the chief confederations in the Western Sahara.


If you would like more information before travelling to Walata, write to us
Project undertaken by: With the collaboration of:
  FNSAV Fundació Solidaritat UB              
With the support of:
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional
Generalitat de Catalunya                                  Ajuntament de Sant Feliu de Llobregat
Creative Commons License
Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons.