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For Immediate Release…

2 June 2017 – JHB, SA: South African author, Rizél De’Lano launches her latest fiction novel Hinane: Behind An Indigo Veil into international online markets. 

Hinane: Behind An Indigo Veil, a historical action adventure fiction story set in the 5th century, took Delano seven years to research, compile, write and edit, struggling to find extra time in between her daily activities. 

The book is based on the legend of Tin Hinan, the remarkable woman who founded the Tuareg nation (blue people of the desert) of Northern Africa. With determination and courage she advanced from a young girl, fleeing from the Atlas in Morocco to be the first and most famous Queen (Tamenokalt) of the Tuaregs. According to the legend, she was a spiritual leader and irresistible matriarch.

She established a kingdom in the Ahaggar mountain of Algeria, and even though with much interference, managed to unite the Tuareg nation with a legacy so great that even today, 1560 years later, the remaining two million Tuaregs still call her ‘Mother of Us All’. 

“I was inspired by the legend when reading how, in 1925 AD, archaeologist Byron Khun de Prorok, with support from the French army, discovered Tin Hinan’s tomb in Abalessa near Adrar of the Ifoghas, the ancient capital of the Ahaggar, or Hoggar region of Algeria,” explains Delano.

De Prorok discovered a well-preserved female skeleton in a burial site, possibly a dwelling converted to a tomb, dated to the second half of the fifth century (450 AD). 

In 1933 archaeologists made a more thorough investigation which revealed the skeleton of an unusually tall woman about forty years old, her skull was closely related to the Pharaonic type and was deformed in her lumbar and sacral areas. It was decided and confirmed that the skeleton belonged to the famous first Tuareg African Amazon Queen Tin Hinan.

“She was stretched out on a bed of sculptured wood, her head facing east, her arms bent over her chest with heavy leather armour and jewellery. A string of antimony beads around her left ankle, and precious pearls covered her breasts,” says Delano.

On her right forearm she wore seven silver bracelets, and on her left, seven gold bracelets. Another silver bracelet and a gold ring were placed with the body. Remains of a complex piecework necklace of gold and pearls were also present.

A glass goblet, dates and fruits in baskets had been placed next to her together with a statue of a woman in Aurignacian style, and other pottery decorating the surrounds of her bed. Along with her in the tomb they found a Roman cup and a wooden cup and piece of gold foil which bore the imprint of a Roman coin akin of Constantine I issued between 308 AD and 324 AD. 

Together with Tin Hinan’s tomb, eleven other burial places were found with tomb walls inscribed with the Tifinagh alphabet. Takamat, Tin Hinan’s personal servant and friend, seemed to have been buried next to Tin Hinan.

Delano says it’s impressive that the tomb of Tin Hinan was never plundered, “Thereby illustrating how enormously this Queen was, and still is, adored by the Tuareg.”

Over the centuries, the Tuareg was a sight that struck terror in the hearts of all who beheld, sweeping across the deserts, protecting their caravans, 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 2million Tuaregs divided between the political borders of Algeria, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Libya, 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 life and future, experiencing a marginalisation and denials of their social, political, and cultural rights in all of these nation states,” explains Delano. 

The aim with the novel is to highlight the Tuareg as those accountable for linking north and west Africa, establishing important trade routes still in use today. 

“The book is based on the legendary facts, but obviously contains various exciting creative elements of the time, such as the wars of the various emerging Christian divisions, and between the Romans and Vandals which are weaved into the story. Many aspects and most other characters are pure fictional,” Delano points out.

“Highlighting the fascinating tale, the heartaches, despairs, struggles, challenges and triumphs of Tin Hinan, was an honour,” says Delano. “The Tuareg’s history is so colourful, exciting and rich in culture, but now totally forgotten and adrift with war raging among them and other northern Africa tribes.”

Tin Hinan’s tomb is one of the main tourist attractions in southern Algeria and her corpse is in the National Museum of Bardo in Algiers. Every year in February, the Tin Hinan Festival is held in her honour in the oasis city of Tamanrasset in southern Algeria. 

The organisers of the event, Ahaggar’s Friends Association, says the festivals highlight the Tuareg culture while at the same time focusing on promoting women.

Delano is a well-known writer and journalist in South Africa.