The Sakalava live all around the west and northwestern coasts of Madagascar. Nowadays, they are still structured in delimited realms on territories of about 3Ox40 km. Each territory is under the traditional authority of a King, a Queen or a Princess. This traditional power mainly concerns the relationship between men and the spiritual. Each sovereign is assisted by a “minister”, a “spokesman” and an “astrologer”. They fix the lucky days for rituals. They ensure the continuity of traditional authenticity.
Sakalava believe in one God, creator of all things: Zanahary. To get in contact with Zanahary, to ask Him help and protection, are numerous sacred places represented by noteworthy trees or rocks. These kinds of “divine phone booth” are surrounded by many various taboos giving these strange places, a highly sacred dimension, and thus highly respected.
Paradoxically, the interest of ethnologists has rarely focused on this coastal population considered too Islamized. Yet, that Islam is only a cultural veneer concerning only when facing death, the royal family and the very particular world of the dhow owners, of Arab origin. There are in fact, a very few mosques and many sacred trees. At the gateway of the third millennium, the northwestern Madagascar remains globally preserved for it is, for the most, completely cut off road links. Northwest Sakalava has a Swahili, Somali and Yemenis physical imprint. They dislike savage violence, and rather enjoy sweetness, tranquility, dance, celebration and fine humor. French language is not widespread, but the smile and extreme friendliness of this ill known people does easy for this handicap.