Marabouts (Arabic: مُرابِط, translit. murābiṭ, 'one who is attached/garrisoned') are considered as being closer to god and to the spirits than ordinary people.
In West African society they play a central role as Islamic religious teachers and spiritual guides; specialists in teaching, counselling, divination, magic and manipulation of spirits.
Houssa Nientao is one of the few female marabouts in Mali, in the courtyard of her home women and children of different ages learn how to read the Quran and practice prayer.
Houssa help people when needed or provide sources of healing when illness strikes thanks to the manufacture and the manipulation of talismans and amulets.
Recently, this profession has come under fire by radical Islamic group who relates their tradition more to witchcraft than muslim teachings.