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Index / Peoples

Group of people, either understood as a tribe or as an ethnic group, living in the central of Libya, mainly around the Gabraoun oasis in the Fezzan, in an area of 11 lakes, called the Dawada lakes. There are no data to their number, but considering the size of their communities it is very small, in the hundreds, perhaps counting 1,000 individuals.
Ethnically they appear to be sub-Saharan blacks mixed with Arabs, and they speak a dialect of Arabic, but their dialect is neither classified nor described.
Dawada is a derogatory term, meaning "worm eaters". The "worms" are small red shrimp, that Dawada women trawls for along the shallows of the lakes. The shrimp are dried in the sun and made into a form of cake with long conservation. Dawada men collect natron from the same lakes, which is exported to tanneries and bakeries. The Dawada are mainly endogamic, rarely marrying outside their tribe.

By Tore Kjeilen