1997 Photo Contest, Portraits, 1st prize

Laurent Monlaü

Rapho for Geo France

01 January, 1996

Ajiba has the distinction of having been Mauritania's first airline hostess. Today she introduces tourists to the nomadic lifestyle by showing them around large tents erected on the beach near the capital, Nouakchott. Signaling respect for Islamic traditions, their hands are painted with henna and their bodies are covered. Yet the place of women in Mauritania is unique in the Arab world. In this tribal society of former nomads, where a third of the population is descended from unions between Moors and their black slaves, women can get divorced and remarried and are able to assert their independence through freedom of expression.

About the photographer

Laurent Monlaü

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