...her real name was Dassine Oult Yemma. She was considered the Queen of the desert, she was the greatest “queen of love”. She was a poetess and messenger of peace between feuding clans of Tamasheq. Two quotes from her poetry:

“Water itself whispers ‘I love you’ as it touches our lips with the lightest of kisses."

“What’s the point of these veils under which you hide yourself – I shrug them aside just as the sun shrugs off the clouds; your real thoughts come always from your heart and in your breath.”

Charles de Foucault wrote:

“Dassine Ult Yemma is the older sister of Akamuk (1). She is married to a man called Afelan. Throughout the Ahaggar, there is no woman who surpasses Dassine. She is a tall woman, with a fair light-brown complexion. Her face is beautiful. Her eyes are magnificent: laughing, and full of expression. She has brilliant white teeth. She is stylish and elegant. She is a great violin [Imzad] player. She makes pleasant conversation. She is extremely intelligent. There is no – or scarcely any – man in the Ahaggar who has as much spirit as Dassine.

She is a real queen. Before she got married, she was the only one that all the men sought. And even now that she is married, there are many who still have a secret passion for her. Moreover, no-one has ever heard it said that she ever did anything wrong: she abhorred dishonour.


1- Akamuk ag Yemma was one of the chiefs of the Kel-Rela, the foremost noble tribe of the Tamasheq of the Ahaggar (C.F.). He had been ‘Amenukal’ from 1921 to 1941: his son Bey ag Akamuk was the last ‘Amenukal’ of the Ahaggar from 1950 until 1975, the date of his death.

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