Raúl Molina Otárola
Centro de Estudios Interculturales e Indígenas CIIR, Chile


This article deals with time construction among the Sahrawi nomads. It is based on ethnographic work and interviews carried out in Tindouf refugee camps, in southern Algeria, and in the freed zone of Western Sahara. It addresses some nomadic time components linked to nature, lived territory, and Sahrawis’ historical and socio-environmental memory. It highlights that time is neither absolute nor linear in desert awareness and daily life. There, years are given names and features, which serve to reconstruct the social and historical memory of Western Sahara. Besides, time is highlighted in relation to mythical ancestors, as well as how time has been lived for over four decades in refugee camps, where Sahrawi nomadic culture is kept alive, waiting to return to their country, today largely occupied by Morocco.

Keywords: Nomadism, Sahrawi people, conception of time, refugee camp, liberated zone, name of the years, Western Sahara.