DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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Posts tagged "berber"

Early 20th century photographs of Ouled Nail Imazighen (Berber) women from North Africa - mainly Algeria, but some sources also mention Tunisia.

These women were said to be professional belly dancers who earned a living by travelling from town to town, putting on performances that are said to have some times involved nudity.

Ornamented in distinctive jewelry and make up, some times also having facial tattoos, these women stood out from many other women in North Africa who, during this time, were often veiled in public at all times.

Further reading.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

Mohammed Awzal (1680–1758) (Berber: Muḥemmed Awzal, Arabic: محمد أوزال‎), also known as Muhammad ibn Ali Awzal or al-Awzali was a religious Amazigh/Berber poet.
He is considered the most important author of the Teshelhit (southern Morocco Tamazight/Berber language) literary tradition.
He was born around 1680 in the village of al-Qasaba in the region of Sous, Morocco and died in 1758/9.
Almost a third of all known Shilha manuscripts contain parts of his works, and the largest Berber text in existence is a commentary by al-Hasan al-Tamuddizti (d. 1898) on Awzal’s al-Hawd.
Awzal, in his honor, is also the name of rhymed couplets and long poems that Ishilhin women chant daily or weekly, between the afternoon and sunset Islamic obligatory prayer times, in the tomb complexes of local holy figures.
Above is a picture of the first page of an 18th century Sous Berber manuscript of Muḥammad Awzal’s al-Ḥawḍ, part I (adapted from N. v.d. Boogert 1997 plate I).

Mohammed Awzal (1680–1758) (Berber: Muḥemmed Awzal, Arabic: محمد أوزال‎), also known as Muhammad ibn Ali Awzal or al-Awzali was a religious Amazigh/Berber poet.

He is considered the most important author of the Teshelhit (southern Morocco Tamazight/Berber language) literary tradition.

He was born around 1680 in the village of al-Qasaba in the region of Sous, Morocco and died in 1758/9.

Almost a third of all known Shilha manuscripts contain parts of his works, and the largest Berber text in existence is a commentary by al-Hasan al-Tamuddizti (d. 1898) on Awzal’s al-Hawd.

Awzal, in his honor, is also the name of rhymed couplets and long poems that Ishilhin women chant daily or weekly, between the afternoon and sunset Islamic obligatory prayer times, in the tomb complexes of local holy figures.

Above is a picture of the first page of an 18th century Sous Berber manuscript of Muḥammad Awzal’s al-Ḥawḍ, part I (adapted from N. v.d. Boogert 1997 plate I).

An Ouled Nail woman.

Etienne Dinet.

MOROCCO. Oujda. Berber women. 1972.

© Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos

(via tamza-d-amzew)

MOROCCO. Near Tabant (Ait Bouguemmez). Berber women cutting grass for their cattle fodder. 1988.

© Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos

(via fyeahnorthafricanwomen)

imazighenstateofmind:

Some Stamps made by a Famous Algerian Artist, Mohamed Temam, who Illustrated Different Berber Jewelleries.

(via tamza-d-amzew)

thepeacefulterrorist:

SaÏd Sifaw al-Mah’rouq (1946 - 1994)

The Libyan Berberist, poet, linguist, and writer SaÏd Sifaw el-Mah’rouq was born on the 18th of April 1946, in the Berber town of Jado, Nafousa Mountain, north-west Libya. His mother died when he was seven years old. His search for his “Tamazight” identity began when he was fifteen, but by the time he reached full maturity he found himself face to face with the “demons of darkness”, the victim of circumstantial absurdities of Libya’s darkest period in history.

His unique, powerful identity and pioneering, daring ideals attracted the enmity of the Libyan monarchy long before the installation of Gaddafi in 1969, when his scholarship to study medicine in Egypt was withdrawn by king Idris’ government; apparently because he was among the first to call for “revolution” against the corrupt monarchy. The kings’s diplomatic staff granted him the choice to denounce his revolutionary activities or else loose his scholarship, and being who he was he refused to bargain, lost his scholarship, and returned home. After the installation of Gaddafi, he continued to speak out the truth, in the open and without fear, since he used his real name to publish his views that even in today’s free Libya not many will dare to think, let alone voice in the open.

Without a doubt Sifaw will be for ever one of Libya’s heroes the real world has ever seen. Berbers around his charming company saw in him a dangerous personality stemming from his alert vision and simple attitude to life. A true legend of Berber history; a powerful and charismatic leader; a genius ahead of his time; a treasure of tales even recorded history miserably failed to see; and a stern activist afraid of absolutely nothing, not even the dark sky and its mythical stars.

The Assassination Attempt on Sifaw’s Life:

Having no other way to buy his loyalty or influence him to sell his soul, he was reportedly “hit-and-run” by a car on the 21st of February 1979, while trying to purchase some medicine for his child from the Najmachemist, nearby where he lived; only to wake up and find himself paralysed from the waist down and with broken bones and limbs. According to his last notes, he was followed by the Libyan intelligence on a number of occasions leading to the assassination attempt. The original report compiled by Hay al-Andulus police in Tripoli, which carried the number (854/1979), listed a “chase” as the cause of the incident and not an “accident” as others had later claimed. In fact the same police report states that the car that hit him had followed him from one side of the dual carriageway to the opposite side of the road, therefore eliminating the accident claim altogether. According to Sifaw himself, reportedly in a latter letter which he intended to send to Gaddafi, the same police report even mentioned the name of the driver of the car that hit him, namely Hasan Alkilani Ahmed Alhmami”, which he said he had no way of knowing if the name was real or “fictitious”. Bound to his wheelchair, he traveled around the world seeking medical help, without any noticeable success. This is not surprising, since all the Libyan departments including the embassies seemingly obstructed his moves for recovery, forged his medical reports, harassed his two children and wife, reduced his wages, refused to pay his insurance claim for so many agonising years, denied him access to medical facilities in Libya, and even was left to starve alone in his flat had it not been for a handful of his devoted friends. He died on the 29th of July 1994 while he was being treated in Tunisia.

The Fictitious “Berber Party”:

The story goes that in 1980 forty Berber citizens from Zuwarah, Jado and Yefren  were arrested and accused of forming a Berber political party (see Berberism for more on this and for a list of names). There is no doubt that some Berber activists did visit Algeria, France and many other countries to buy forbidden Berber books and music, but there is no evidence that the party had actually existed in the real world. The suspects were brought before a revolutionary government court, charged with “Berber Activism”, and sent to jail in 1981: three were executed, Said Sifaw was proven innocent (of course, after the attempt that sent him to the wheelchair instead), and the rest were sentenced to between ten years and life imprisonment. However, one learns later that this so called “Berber Party” was no more than an invention by Gaddafi’s government to warrant the arrest of some activists, and according to Sifaw, listing his name among the members of the party was no more than a ploy to “justify” the assassination attempt made on his life on the 21st of February 1979. Sifaw spoke of being persecuted for being a “Berber”, and that it was him who requested to be returned from Germany to Libya to face the allegations. He said enlisting his name in a fictitious organisation had nothing to do with the secret service, since from the outset of the “revolutionary thought symposium” the attack on “Berberism” was very clear under the name of “populism” [or “tribalism”], a word which people do not understand, he said; and openly demanded a re-trial in this case that was started in his absence and in which a decision was made in his absence while he was actually present in Libya.

The Berber Academy (L’Académie berbère):

Sifaw seems to know some secrets about the Berber Academy which he explicitly declined to reveal in his letter (in Arabic) that was intended for Gaddafi. The following is my own translation of what he said, according to this letter:

I know everything about Ait Ahmed despite the fact that I do not know him personally at all, and I know everything about this “Berber Academy” even though I was not one of its members, but all that is behind us now … Perhaps Ait Ahmed and Bosoud Mohamed Aarab (who is responsible for this Academy) know, to exchange “accusations” as usual, but why now? If it was the Libyan Intelligence that accused me of such charge then it is the stupidest secret service in the world. Why? I will not say why, but it is enough to say that Ait Ahmed was finished as a Berber before I was personally born since he is only a Kabylian; and that the charge that I belonged to Ait Ahmed’s party had enabled me to know the exact identity of this person; this person is complicated by his war with his friend Ben Bella, and he did not include Tamazight in his program and his party’s program only after the attempt on my life [in 1979] — he asked for Tamazight to be listed as an official language after the attempt on my life, and therefore the charge ought to be directed at Ait Ahmed who was influenced by what I write in the open in your newspapers and not at myself. I heard he visited you [Gaddafi] last year and so why didn’t you ask him?  Regarding the “Berber Academy” I had no need for any academy because I am myself a Berber academy, but on the 18th of April 1985 you spoke about the academy and you said it was France that created the academy, and here on behalf of the “helpless” Bosoud Mohamed Aarab I will defend him and not defend myselfI came to know about this academy through an article by one of Ben Bella’s friends: Mohamed Harbi, which I have read here in “Jeune Afrique”, in 1978. Mohamed Aarab wanted to secure some financial funding from one of the wealthy Kabyles and this Kabyle was an infiltrator working for the Algerian and the French Intelligence at the same time, and when he intimidated him with a pistol one of the French Intelligence agents was ready to confront him, Mohamed Aarab was arrested, and that was the end of everything; and therefore it was surprising for you to go to Jado [Sifaw’s home town in Nafusa Mountain] and lecture the Berbers about being agents of the French Intelligence when it was the French Intelligence that destroyed the alleged Berber Academy that “lived” on begging and donations from Algerian labourers.  End of translation.

Sifaw’s Literary Work

During the period between 1961 and 1966 he wrote a number of works in which he developed his Tamazight identity. His poems and literary works had similar effects in Libya to those produced by the Berber scholar Mouloud Mammeri in Algeria, whom he met in 1971. Sifaw’s work included a number of studies about Tamazight grammar, language, and Berber mythology, especially his  “Midnight Voices”, a collection of fifteen Berber myths; in which he said, as I would translate: “How can I rescue and preserve  an oral tradition much hated and considered a kind of superstition by its people?” Sifaw spoke of two kinds of colonialism: “modern colonialism” and “ancient colonialism” - but perhaps to this day most people still seemingly unable to grasp the extent of violence in human patriarchal history.  His work was circulated (underground) in Libya across the Nafousa Mountain, Zuwarah and Tripoli, while some of it was published in Libyan official newspapers and cultural periodicals during Gaddafi’s government. Fifteen years after Sifaw’s tragic death, the Libyan Government attempted to put pressure on the Moroccan government to block a lecture about one of Sifaw’s books on the 18th of June 2009. Some of  Sifaw’s work was badly represented and distributed  full of typing, spelling and grammatical mistakes by some Berberists after his death. Some other changes could also reflect dialectical differences, where people copy phrases and then repeat them (or publish them) in their own Berber dialects or languages without paying attention to details — or maybe they had other reasons in mind; who knows? It was also reported that one of his entire works was borrowed by one of his supposed friends whom later turned out to be an agent of the Dictator himself, allegedly to read and maybe report back with some feedback, but instead published it under his name — probably with some modifications to suit the agenda he had in mind. 

The First Barbary War (1801–1805), also known as the Tripolitan War or the Barbary Coast War, was the first of two wars fought between the United States and the Northwest African Berber Muslim states known collectively as the Barbary States. These were Tripoli and Algiers, which were quasi-independent entities nominally belonging to the Ottoman Empire, and the independent Sultanate of Morocco.

(cont. reading)

Further reading.

299 plays
Lounès Matoub

TODAY’S CLASSIC TUNE: Lounès Matoub - Ddeεwessu

I unfortunately don’t know the name of this great song but if anyone else recognizes it, please let me know.

ETA; Thanks to kermus for informing that this song is called ‘Ddeεwessu’ which means “malediction” in Kabyle.

gunsandposes:

Kabyle:A berber of Algeria or Tunisia” — The Kabyle people are an ethnic group in northern Algeria.

According to Wikipedia, they form the “largest Berber-speaking population of Algeria and second in Africa.”

(NYPL)

(via algerianculture)

In this series  Namibian-born photographer Margaret Courtney-Clarke’s documents the daily lives and historical traditions of the Imazighen women of North Africa whose centuries old culture is slowly being forced to give in to the pressures of Arabisation and Westernization.

The photographs have been cataloged in this book.

60 plays
Thalweg

TODAY’S CLASSIC TUNEThalweg - Ad Ezzi Ssaâ

Beautiful song by Imazighen (Berber) band Thalweg, as discovered through the blog Kahina.

Berber activists in Algeria say authorities prevented them from carrying out a march to mark their new year.

An estimated third of Algeria is ethnically Berber or Amazigh, the original inhabitants of North Africa with their own language and history.

Activists from the Movement for the Autonomy of the Kabylie had planned to mark the Berber New Year with a march in Tizi Ouzou, the capital of Algeria’s predominantly Berber Kabylie region.

Like most North African countries, Algeria describes itself as Arab and has long suppressed Berber identity movements.

A demonstration a few days ago by the banned movement during French President Francois Hollande’s visit was also prevented.

The movement believes the Berber culture and language is sidelined in Algeria, where the official language is Arabic.

AFRICANS YOU SHOULD KNOW:Daya Ult Yenfaq Tajrawt
Daya Ult Yenfaq Tajrawt was an Imazighen religious and military leader in the region known then (the 7th century) as Numidia, Algeria today, who dedicated her life to leading Imazighen resistance campaigns against Arab expansion of the Umayyad Dynasty in Numidia. Her Muslim opponents gave her the nickname al-Kāhinat (the priestess soothsayer) for her reputed ability to foresee the future. 



Dihyā succeeded Kusaila as the war leader of the Berber tribes in the 680s and opposed the encroaching Arab armies of the Umayyad Dynasty. Hasan ibn al-Nu’man marched from Egypt and captured the major Byzantine city of Carthage and other cities (see Umayyad conquest of North Africa ). 
Searching for another enemy to defeat, he was told that the most powerful monarch in North Africa was “the queen of the Berbers” Dihyā, and accordingly marched into Numidia. The armies met near Meskiana in the present-day province of Oum el-Bouaghi, Algeria. She defeated Hasan so soundly that he fled Ifriqiya and holed up in Cyrenaica (Libya) for four or five years. 
Realizing that the enemy was too powerful and bound to return, she was said to have embarked on a scorched earth campaign, which had little impact on the mountain and desert tribes, but lost her the crucial support of the sedentary oasis-dwellers. Instead of discouraging the Arab armies, her desperate decision hastened defeat.
Hasan eventually returned and, aided by communications with the captured officer adopted by Dihyā, defeated her at a locality (presumably in present-day Algeria) about which there is some uncertainty. Before the battle, foreseeing the outcome, she sent her two real sons over to the Arab army under the care of the adopted son, and Hasan is said to have given one of them charge of a section of his forces.
According to some accounts, al-Kāhinat died fighting the invaders, sword in hand, a warrior’s death. Other accounts say she committed suicide by swallowing poison rather than be taken by the enemy. This final act occurred in the 690s or 700s, with 702 or 703 given as the most likely year. In that year, she was, according to Ibn Khaldun, 127 years old. This is evidently yet another of the many myths which surround her.
Her sons Bagay and Khanchla, converted, and led the berber army to Iberia.
Another, lesser known account of Dihyā claimed that she had an interest in early studies of desert birds. While this view may or may not be plausible, some evidence has been recovered at the site of her death place, modern day Algeria. Several fragments of early parchment with a painting of a bird on them were found, although there’s no way to conclude the fragments were hers. However, it is possible that she began her interest while in Libya, as the painting was of a Libyan bird species.
Supposedly, she had a passion for ornithology that shaped science and learning in the early Middle East. Today, many look up to her for her great findings and independence.
In later centuries, Dihyā’s legend was used to bolster the claims of Berbers in al-Andalus against Arab claims of ethnic supremacy—in the early modern age, she was used by French colonials, Berber nationalists, Arab Nationalists, North African Jews, North African feminists, and Maghrebi nationalists alike for their own didactic purposes.
(source)

AFRICANS YOU SHOULD KNOW:Daya Ult Yenfaq Tajrawt

Daya Ult Yenfaq Tajrawt was an Imazighen religious and military leader in the region known then (the 7th century) as Numidia, Algeria today, who dedicated her life to leading Imazighen resistance campaigns against Arab expansion of the Umayyad Dynasty in Numidia. Her Muslim opponents gave her the nickname al-Kāhinat (the priestess soothsayer) for her reputed ability to foresee the future. 

Dihyā succeeded Kusaila as the war leader of the Berber tribes in the 680s and opposed the encroaching Arab armies of the Umayyad Dynasty. Hasan ibn al-Nu’man marched from Egypt and captured the major Byzantine city of Carthage and other cities (see Umayyad conquest of North Africa ).

Searching for another enemy to defeat, he was told that the most powerful monarch in North Africa was “the queen of the Berbers” Dihyā, and accordingly marched into Numidia. The armies met near Meskiana in the present-day province of Oum el-BouaghiAlgeria. She defeated Hasan so soundly that he fled Ifriqiya and holed up in Cyrenaica (Libya) for four or five years.

Realizing that the enemy was too powerful and bound to return, she was said to have embarked on a scorched earth campaign, which had little impact on the mountain and desert tribes, but lost her the crucial support of the sedentary oasis-dwellers. Instead of discouraging the Arab armies, her desperate decision hastened defeat.

Hasan eventually returned and, aided by communications with the captured officer adopted by Dihyā, defeated her at a locality (presumably in present-day Algeria) about which there is some uncertainty. Before the battle, foreseeing the outcome, she sent her two real sons over to the Arab army under the care of the adopted son, and Hasan is said to have given one of them charge of a section of his forces.

According to some accounts, al-Kāhinat died fighting the invaders, sword in hand, a warrior’s death. Other accounts say she committed suicide by swallowing poison rather than be taken by the enemy. This final act occurred in the 690s or 700s, with 702 or 703 given as the most likely year. In that year, she was, according to Ibn Khaldun, 127 years old. This is evidently yet another of the many myths which surround her.

Her sons Bagay and Khanchla, converted, and led the berber army to Iberia.

Another, lesser known account of Dihyā claimed that she had an interest in early studies of desert birds. While this view may or may not be plausible, some evidence has been recovered at the site of her death place, modern day Algeria. Several fragments of early parchment with a painting of a bird on them were found, although there’s no way to conclude the fragments were hers. However, it is possible that she began her interest while in Libya, as the painting was of a Libyan bird species.

Supposedly, she had a passion for ornithology that shaped science and learning in the early Middle East. Today, many look up to her for her great findings and independence.

In later centuries, Dihyā’s legend was used to bolster the claims of Berbers in al-Andalus against Arab claims of ethnic supremacy—in the early modern age, she was used by French colonials, Berber nationalists, Arab Nationalists, North African Jews, North African feminists, and Maghrebi nationalists alike for their own didactic purposes.

(source)

Happy Yennayer! Happy Imazighen (Berber) New Year 2963 to all our Imazighen readers!