Hinane is a historical action adventure set in the 5th century, based on the legend of Tin Hinan, the remarkable woman who founded the Tuareg nation of Northern Africa.
Beautiful, tall, powerful and mysterious, as a young and robust warrior, but inexperienced in all else, she flees from a certain death, venturing from Tafilalt oasis in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, to Ahaggar mountain in modern day Algeria, struggling to find acceptance in her new home.
With determination and courage she advances to be the first and most famous queen (Tamenokalt) of the Tuaregs, a spiritual leader and irresistible matriarch, combining honour with authority and conviction.
As queen she establishes a kingdom in the Ahaggar mountain of Algeria. Even though with much interference, she still manages to unite the Tuareg nation with a legacy so great that even today, 1560 years later, the two million Tuaregs (blue people of the desert) still call her ‘Mother of Us All’.
This book is based on legendary facts of queen Tin Hinan as orally handed down through many generations by the Tuareg tribes of Northern Africa weaved through works of fiction.
Today, festivals in Algeria are still arranged in her honour.
Historical, action adventure fiction
North West Africa
With a fierce Amazon warrior as mother, Hinane only learned to fight in battle, hunt for food and write poetry. As a young untested girl – with only one dream (to find love like her parents’) – is thrown into a serious dilemma when having to flee from Roman slave capturers, leaving everything behind, her home, her childhood, her dreams.
Her friend/servant Takamat, her small tribe and warriors are reluctant to follow, scared of the deserts, fearful of the journey and would rather stay and fight the slave traders. But she’s not convinced they can win the fight if they stay and finally persuades them to go, but then leads them into an arid land with hardships and adversity not all could endure. She’s scared, alone and desperate to lead them to safety, and certainly not prepared for what lays ahead. But she finds strength in all around her…
They finally reach the Hoggar, a safe haven, a place to build a new home. At first they call her fugitive princess when she arrives and later on refer to her as a light-worker and healer.
She brought with her the ways of the warrior women (known as the Amazons), and enriches the Berbers (Amazigh) with war practises, poetry and language, healing with herbs and spice, and enforces in them pride, strength and integrity. She’s able to foresee the future and change it to suit her own beliefs.
But the current confederation leader Atisi, despises Hinane’s practises, and becomes jealous of the popularity she gains with his people. He offends her in public, threatening her mere existence, then takes away the one thing that sustains her more than anything else throughout all of her adversities.
Even more alarming: the lack of commodities within her household and tribe is daunting and worsens by the minute, she has to find a way to care for them all. But how? She only knows about battles and cavalry, nothing of commerce, nothing of farming, nothing of politics, nothing of creating wealth …
She finally finds a way to build riches, finally finds the courage to fight what she beliefs in and forms her own individuality as a leader. She deposes of Atisi, and becomes queen of the Tuareg in such a clever way, her followers in awe of her courage, mystical ways and powerful beauty. But her victory comes with a price, owed to the one who helps her, the person who loves her above all else – Amezwar.
Over the next 20 years she establishes the kingdom to a powerful and wealthy nation, founding the five important desert trading routes to Roman cities in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean.
But the influx of the Donastis Christians within her community, Catholic recruiters opposing the Donastis, and her tribe’s pagan beliefs and gods, threaten to divide the Tuareg. Her people are convinced the interference of the new gods among them is the cause for the sudden vandal attacks on their caravans, making them weak, and losing the protection from their own gods.
The Tuareg blames her for the divide and consequent severe losses of their wealth, accusing her of alienating them from their gods by allowing the Christians in their midst. But it was the betrayal of a trusted and loyal friend who infuriated her more than her tribe’s grievances.
She faces the challenges of uniting the Tuareg once again, re-establishing her authority, reconfirming her stance in politics and as queen. But she is also challenged to regain the belief within herself and to secure a future for her daughter.
The vandal king Gaiseric is a ruthless brute, raiding and plundering, taking North Africa by force, burning churches, killing women and children, all for power and treasures. He moves closer and closer to her domain, threatening their existence.
To re-establish the favour of her people, to prove herself as a worthy queen, she has to stop the raids, stop the plundering, stop the fatal threats her people face, reclaim their gods to their throne, and leave the comforts of her identity as a powerful matriarch to become a brave warrior once more.
She traverses to Carthage to oppose the vandal king. But will she triumph against Gaiseric, the devious, brilliant militant – clever, shrewd and cunning with thousands of barbarian followers?
And throughout all of this over the many years of her reign, inside her deepest being where no one else could see, she remains emotionally torn between her duty and respect towards her husband Amezwar, and the passionate undying love for her lover Chikae…
She was stretched out on a bed of sculptured wood when they found her many centuries later… her body facing east her arms bend over with heavy leather armour and jewellery. Seven silver and seven gold bracelets on her left arm, and a single silver bracelet on her right. A string of antimony beads around her left ankle, precious pearls covered her breasts.
Dates and fruits in baskets had been placed next to her with a statue of a woman and other pottery decorated around her bed.
Along with her in the tomb they found a Roman cup and a wooden cup and coins bearing the effigy of Roman Emperor Constantine and other Roman funerary accessories of the 4th century.
The tomb wall was inscribed with Tifinagh alphabet. She was the famous Tuareg African Amazon Queen Tin Hinan
It’s easy to be born into royalty, becoming princess, then being groomed into becoming queen. It’s easy to marry a king, becoming a queen in one simple answer of “Yes I do”.
But it’s never easy to evolve from a young warrior woman, an average member of a small tribe, to a powerful matriarch, becoming queen through pain, hardships, courage and endurance to rule an entire nation.
First fighting for her own existence, coming from a foreign land, not considered as one of the local people in her new domain. And then finally winning the hearts of all and becoming their queen.
A remarkable achievement indeed. Her story deserves to be told.
This story is based on the legend of Tin Hinan as orally handed down by Tuaregs throughout generations to today where festivals are still arranged in her honour.
However Most elements of the story in this book are pure fiction.
In the book, the following are based on legend facts:
Tin Hinan (including her characteristics mentioned and her mystical beauty), Takamat and how they arrived in the Hoggar, her teachings in poetry, the Tifinagh alphabet, her healing abilities, medicines and practices.
She was a fearless warrior (known today as Amazons), some Tuaregs today still refer to her as the Africa Amazon Queen.
She founded and united the Tuareg, establishing a kingdom in the Hoggar.
They established the five important desert caravan trading routes and they did build wealth and riches through the century.
Tin Hinan had a daughter Kella from who descend the Kel Rela.
Takamat had two daughters. Tin Hinan gave the oasis of Silet and Ennided to the two daughters of Takamat to whose descendants they still belong.
In 1925, in Abalessa near Adrar of the Ifoghas, the ancient capital of the Ahaggar or Hoggar region of Algeria, archaeologists discovered a well-preserved female skeleton in a burial site that belonged to the famous Tuareg African Amazon Queen Tin Hinan.
But no records nowhere outlined why she took the journey,
Where she was born, who was her parents, why was she arriving there… why was she so far away from her original tribe, who was her husband, or her lovers. Also not recorded, is how she died exactly.
All of these outlined in the book are therefore fiction…
We only know… and history records: From one (Tin Hinan) descend the secondary tribe of Ihadanaren and the other (Takamat) from descend the plebean tribes of Dag Rali and Ait Loaien.
How she really managed to win the favour of the Amazigh, becoming queen and why they become to be veiled in blue, her husband Amezwar and true love Chikae, are all fiction.
However, historically recorded, the invasion of the vandals into North Africa is based on facts, the slave trade definitely based on facts, the Ghana Empire becoming a mighty force, trading with gold in the entire region are all facts.
These are all elements that played an important role during that time, which are used to give flavour to the story. If one reads through the history pages, one’s imagination can easily perceive all to be fact.
Sadly and regretfully, as the Tuareg or Amazigh of those ages were not record keepers as the Romans were, no proper and true recordings are available.
The Tuareg was a sight that struck terror in the hearts of all who beheld, sweeping across the deserts, protecting their caravans, creating wealth and power. They were feared and respected as the daring, deadly warriors for as long as merchants have crossed the Sahara.
Today there are more than 2 million Tuaregs divided between the political borders of Algeria, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Lybia, suffering from the loss of historical capacity and position, dismantled by French colonialism and perpetuated since by voracious military regimes in the name of exclusivist and smothering notions of nation-state.
They are people struggling to re-invent a better future, experiencing a marginalisation and denials of their social, political, and cultural rights in all of these nation states.
The aim with the story is to highlight them as those accountable for linking north and west Africa, establishing important trade routes still in use today.
And off course, the fascinating tale, the heartaches, despairs, struggles, challenges and triumphs of Queen Tin Hinan, the remarkable women who founded them.
The Tuareg’s history is colourful, exciting, rich in culture but now totally forgotten and adrift.
Tin Hinan Festivals
Festivals are held in Tin Hinan’s honour every year in the oasis city Tamanrasset in southern Algeria (location of the tomb of legendary Queen Tin Hinan). The organisers of the event, Ahaggar’s Friends Association, confirms that 26 African countries, along with Arab and European countries feature in the festival which is held anytime between 20-28 February every year.