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 "tunisia"

Today’s style inspiration: Louis Philippe de Gagoue.

Hailing from both Cameroon and Cote D’Ivoire, the self-described eclectic fashion stylist, blogger and personal shopper is currently based in Morocco after half a decade living in neighbouring Tunisia.

With a style all his own, there’s a sense of vintage cool, classic sartorialism and modern vibrancy in almost everything he wears. From Congolese sapeurs to traditional North African garments, there’s always a strong African influence in de Gagoue’s visual aesthetic.

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All Africa, All the time.

"Jomaa Meter" Set Up by Tunisian Group to Track Leader’s Performance.

In a similar fashion to Egypt’s “Morsi Meter" that tracked the performance of Mohammed Morsi’s short-lived presidency, the founders of the Morsi meter have helped Tunisian organization "I Watch set-up up a “Jomaa Meter" to evaluate the progress and promises of their leader Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa.

The founders of the Jomaa meter hope this initiative will help foster a greater sense and culture of accountability in Tunisian politics.

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All Africa, All the time.

Morning Cheer: Tunisians in Tunis declare their happiness using Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ song.

Watch the Cotonou, Benin video.

In Photos: The Mourning “Mothers of Tunisia”

During times of conflict, it is often said that those who suffer most are those not directly involved in the fighting or the initiating of the violence. 

Through the recent years of political instability and violence in Tunisia, people from all walks of life have been on the receiving end of insurmountable tragedies. These women photographed by Sophia Baraket represent a part of the population that have been directly affected by the country’s dire straits. From war to the wrecked ships, martyrdom to migration, all the women pictured are strewn together by the similar tragedies they’ve suffered involving their children.

These are the faces of loss, suffering and seemingly neverending pain. These are the mourning “Mothers of Tunisia”.

  • Khemissa Oueslati is the mother of Mohamed, a policeman who was shot dead at age 23 while inspecting a vehicle at a checkpoint. Had he lived, Mohamed would have married his fiancee later this year.
  • Faouzia Zorgui is the mother of Walid, who died in a detention cell in a neighbourhood police station. The police claimed he died from a “cannabis overdose”. Faouzia filed a claim against the police, and says she is being pressured by the same people she claims beat Walid to death.
  • The death of Chokri Belaid was the first major political assassination since the Tunisian uprising. Chokri was shot dead early in the morning of February 6 last year. His stepmother had raised him since he was three years old.
  • Jeanette Errhima is the mother of Wassim. He called his mother on March 28, 2011 to tell her he planned to take a boat to the island of Lampedusa, in Italy. After being told that Wassim had died, Jeanette spent 12 days at the hospital after attempting to burn herself to death.
  • Friends and neighbours of Jeannette whose sons have also tried to make it to Europe. Most believe their sons have started new lives in Italy, though many haven’t heard from their sons since they left.
  • Rebha’s son was only 18 years old when he left the house and boarded a boat. She swears having seen him on TV, but has not received any news in the past three years.
  • Chelbia Zayeni has lost two sons since 2011. Khaled was shot dead when he was 18 years old during an anti-police demonstration in January 2011. His brother Mohamed el-Hedi died near where his brother was shot, in a police van after clashes between angry youngsters and security forces.
  • Nabiha is the mother of Wajdi, who told his parents he found a job in Libya. Two months after his departure, he called to inform them he was joining the Jabhat al-Nusra armed group in Syria to fight against Bashar al-Assad. Wajdi was killed and buried in Aleppo on January 2, 2014.

Tunisian artist Meriem Bouderbala combines a variety of skills and mediums including photography, painting, installation and video, using canvas, paper, glass and textiles, to create her dynamic works of art that seek to merge Eastern and Western sensibilities around the representation of the body and thus regain “the point where the human figure is both flesh and signs.”“

Most of the above pieces are taken from her 2008 series Bédouine.

October: Highlighting African Art & African Artists

petitaraignee:

The Contentious Egg

Article :Nebras elHidili 
Illustration :Amro okacha
Ne

 Tunisia’s Minister of Culture Mehdi Mabrouk had his own taste of egg diplomacy when filmmaker Nasreddine Shili pelted the minister with one single egg.

Danger in knowing the truth

The Minister of Culture was attending a 40-day memorial ceremony for Azzouz Chennaoui on August 16 at the Ibn Khaldun House of Culture in Tunis. Najib al-Obeidi, who witnessed the incident, said that Shili tried to approach the minister to express his condemnation of the ministry’s negligence of artists and its lack of support for them, which were allegedly among the reasons that led to the death of Cehnnaoui. 

"Your support to Chennaoui now has no value," Shili told the minister in a protesting tone. "We have been asking you to help him when he was being treated in the hospital.  But you did nothing." 

The minister allegedly refused to speak to Shili and asked his escorts to push Shili away, telling them that he didn’t want to see him.   

Nasreddine quickly left and came back carrying an egg, which he hurled at the minister’s face.   

In the meantime, Mourad Meherzi, a cameraman, was covering the memorial and his camera was quick to capture the egg-throwing event.

The footage quickly become a source of trouble for Mourad and a source of embarrassment for the minister.

Aftermath of the egg

Shortly after the incident, several media outlets started to spread news about the minister’s statements in which he spoke about physical violence against him.  He also claimed that he was punched on the face. The Minister, after this incident, was allegedly taken to the hospital. 

However, the video clip of Mourad’s lens, which accurately shows the details of the incident, made the media correct the previously broadcasted news.   

Less than two days after the incident, the anti-crime force knocked on the door of Mourad’s home late one night. Mourad opened the door and asked the force members to give him some time to bring with him some essential personal items.  As Mourad was preparing himself, the force stormed the house and took Mourad’s camera and personal computer.

Najib al-Obeidi, a political activist, said that Mourad was arrested because he gave evidence about the false statements made by Mehdi Mabrouk, the Culture Minister. The evidence caused the minister, the prime ministry and everyone who supported him embarrassment and made it difficult for the minister to take revenge.  

After three more days, the major actor of this incident, Shili, was arrested. The security forces were able to tighten their grip and to follow Shili, who was accused of a premeditated and deliberate attack on the minister. Shili, who left his house and sought shelter at the house of Ibrahim Raouf, his fellow artist, in the coastal city of Sousse, soon discovered that Mourad has been imprisoned in one of the Tunis’ civil prisons.

"This is a political incident par excellence," said Obeidi.

"The Minister of Culture has provoked artists with his double standards. He has recently bought one of the paintings of the Abdelliya exhibition. When he was personally attacked by the Salafists, he started to criticize the artistic nature of the exhibition.  This time, he ignored all our calls to save the life of Shinawi before his death," he said. 

"We were surprised to see him attending the memorial. If given the opportunity, I would throw eggs at the members of this failed government without any hesitation." 

A penalty of five years imprisonment

Ayoub Gdhemsi, one of the lawyers on Mehrezi’s and Shili’s case, said that there is a lawsuit filed by the minister accusing Mehrezi and Shili of violent physical and verbal assault against him. “My two clients were arrested by the anti-crime force and the public prosecution issued their imprisonment order against charges of deliberate violent assault on a public official. The two were also accused of being under the influence of alcohol, inciting disorder and chaos and insulting other people through the use of the public communication network.”

Ayoub Gdhemsi, “The minister deliberately exaggerated the incident, claiming that he was punched, based on the presence of the egg-attack mark on his face and the egg on his clothes, but the video of Mourad firmly refuted his claim,” asserted the lawyer.

The lawyer went a step further by stressing that his client, Shili, was subjected to extreme violence by the Minister’s escorts, based on the statements of his client and Mourad’s video.    

Ayoub Gdhemsi considered the arrest of his client Mourad as illegal because it took place without obtaining permission from the prosecutor. Moreover, the arrest intimidated his elderly parents.  According to Gdhemsi, the arrest by the anti-crime force is unjustified and it is an act intended to intimidate people. 

Gdhemsi added that if convicted, the charges would be punishable by up to five years imprisonment. He claims however, that there is no evidence to support the charges; he feels assured that they will not be imprisoned for a long period.  Moreover, the law related to public servants offenses does not apply on this incident. 

"My client Mourad was present because he was performing his job as a cameraman covering an ordinary event," Ayoub said, adding that "he has an official assignment from his superiors to cover the memorial." Ayoub commented saying that "implicating Mourad in this way is an act of revenge."   

"My client did not commit any criminal act. His behavior is an act of protest practiced in democratic countries and in some incidents presidents were attacked in a similar manner with no repercussions whatsoever in many of such incidents," he concluded.

Postage stamps designed by the late Tunisian artist Abdelaziz Gorgi who was one of the founders of the Tunis School of painting.

Gorgi was born in Tunis in 1928 and studied at the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts. He went on to establish himself as a painter in France before and would eventually start up his own art gallery, the Gorgi Gallery, in 1973, that was dedicated to showcasing art created by Tunisian artists.

In 1999, Gorgi received the Grand Ribbon of National Merit for culture and, in 2000, was awarded the President’s Prize for innovation and creation by Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Gorgi died on January 10, 2008 in Tunis, aged 79, and was buried at the cemetery of Sidi Bou Said the next day.

October: Highlighting African Art & African Artists

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

French photojournalist Olivier Martel has travelled the world capturing images of women across the globe from all walks of life. Here are some of his pictures of women from around the African continent including Tunisia, Ethiopia, Senegal and the Ivory Coast. Most of these photographs are taken from the book Femmes Eternelles.

Click photos for captions.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

Vintage portrait of a dancer from Tunis, Tunisia.

Market in Tunis, Tunisia.

1899.

“Blacks are our brothers and friends. They are good luck charms for me, a source of blessing,’’ said Walid Ezzaraa, a Tunisian TV presenter, on Monday’s “Bila Moujamala” program.

Such a statement is perceived by some as treading the slippery slope of racial generalization, deeply ingrained in the Tunisian culture. A black is reduced to a good luck charm that blesses people when their paths cross.

Among the stereotypes foisted upon Tunisian blacks are their societal roles as evil repellents and talismans as well as their sexually potent, lazy, and unmotivated personality.

“I went to a neighbor’s marriage, and during the ceremony one of the white relatives of my neighbor came to me asking if I wanted to ride the horse in the feast (the horse is always present in southern traditional marriages over which they put the dowries of the bride). I refused as I became aware of my mother’s warning,” said Abdul Malek Tayeb, a young man from Gabes.

‘Never say yes to them if they ask you to ride the horse, they will be looking for a black to ride it, this is part of their traditions’ was the admonishment of Tayeb’s mother.

“In fact, they were looking for a black to do that in order to meet their racist traditions,” he stated in regards to the incident.

In southern Tunisian weddings, blacks are considered as part of the decorations of the ceremony. A Black woman is needed to dye the bride’s hands with henna, take care of her, and accompany her in order to cast away and avert evil.

Racism for many Tunisian blacks is a daily routine. Bullying and name-calling with epithets like Wsif, Zombak, Kahla, Shoushen, Guira Guira, and Negrita are recurrent incidents for almost all Blacks.

“I was standing in the street of Kheireddine Pacha in Tunis, waiting for a taxi, and a man came to take a cab too. A taxi came, and the man tried to take it before me, though I had been the first one raising my hand to hail the taxi. The taxi driver told me blatantly that he would prefer having his Tunisian brother in the cab than a black woman,” said Sarah Intitoury. “I couldn’t react. I just let them go,” she added.

Blacks in Tunisia are mostly thought to be former slaves. Yet, according to historians like Habib Larguesh, there are indigenous blacks native to North Africa, who were never displaced or enslaved.

“Slavery is not uniquely related to blacks. There were many white slaves, who were called Mamlouk, but after being freed, those Mamlouk went from being former slaves to acquiring a social category while Black former slaves went to a racial category, which is as freed slaves,” said Salah Trabelsi, a Tunisian historian.

“166 years now since the abolition of slavery, yet still, the Tunisian society is soaked in racism and intolerance,” said Trabelsi.

Today, many Blacks in Tunisia still bear the legacy of slavery in their identity cards. Some have written in their cards “X, emancipated slave of Y,” or, for instance, Ahmed Atig (freed slave of) Ben Yedder.

“Why should this past keep haunting him (the slave) and his grandchildren?” asked Sana Bent Khayat from Djerba. Many blacks in Djerba still shudder at this anachronistic reference in their identity cards.

Marouen Mahroug, a white Tunisian from the island of Djerba, denied any kind of racism in his island. “I think that the issue of racism in our island is approximately absent in general. In terms of color, it proves to be totally absent since we do have a good atmosphere where white and black Djerbians co-exist without any problem. On the contrary, I think we enjoy our life together, especially if we remind ourselves that “black” Djerbians really have a specific sense of humour,” said Mahroug.

Trabelsi traced the problem to a whole social ailment that is due to the lack of freedom of individuals in a country that is still looking for its identity, autonomy, and true self. “Stripped out of its primary sources, Tunisia is still under construction, and now  after the revolution people still did not fully grasp the meaning of who they are,” stated Trabelsi.

The racial climate in Tunisia can be summed up in the problem of an identity crisis. Asia Turner, an African-American woman who lived in Tunisia for 4 months, came to the conclusion that it is all about “a singular and close-minded ideal of what it means to be Tunisian.”

In her four month stay, she managed to see how people reduce the richness of their culture to believe that Tunisians are Arab people or they try “to align themselves with a more European identity, but it doesn’t really cross their mind that Tunisians can be black people too or Tunisians can be Asian or anything other than Arab and white.”

“I think that Tunisians are receptive to the idea that other Tunisians may not be Muslim… So in that way, they acknowledge religious diversity in their country, yet I doubt they acknowledge the racial diversity in the same way,” said Turner.

Tunisians, Trabelsi says, are stuck in a mental “ghetto” that fixes both whites and blacks in a certain rank to which a majority of both blacks and whites subscribe. “Many blacks now do not encourage other blacks as they believe that they are not meant for a certain higher class and thus will try to hinder their way,” stated Trabelsi. In such a way, black Tunisians may be doomed to not rise above the social class that is preset for them.

Being black and beautiful, black and smart, or black and rich are controversial combinations that mostly shock white Tunisians. According to some Tunisians, blacks ought to remain inferior to whites. “For blacks to be smarter than them (whites) is an offence in Tunisia. A white person can accept that another white person is better than him, but if this man turns out to be black, that is very offensive and can be very frustrating and insulting in their mind,” said Ali Rahali from Gabes.

Turner recounted that during her 4 months in Tunisia, Tunisians always questioned her, thinking that she must be from Senegal or Nigeria. At first, she thought it was so because she did not speak the language, and therefore people could tell that she was not Tunisian.

“But then in my talks with black Tunisians, they shared with me that even though they speak the local language and some even wear the headscarf, they are still perceived to be foreigners in their own country. So, with this said, I believe the root of the problem is a singular idea of Tunisian identity,” stated Turner.

“I lived with two host families, and they socialized often and brought people to their home, yet I never saw a black person welcomed into their home. Tunisians I spoke with always said they had black friends they went to school with, but honestly I think those black friends were just classmates and they probably don’t engage with them much outside of their classroom, university setting. There’s an issue of denial. Blacks are to a degree well-assimilated into the culture, and I often heard people say that there was no racism because blacks are in the schools and universities,” stated Turner.

Despite her different language and style, which clearly marked her as different, Turner said that being black added another layer to her experience in Tunisia and made her a target to racist remarks in public spaces.

“I can’t necessarily say that every incident was racist (…) I think I had some different experiences as foreigner compared to all my other classmates that were not black,” she said.

According to Trabelsi, instances of racism are used by their perpetrators as a method to affirm their own identity.

“In the struggle of the individual to establish his identity, some Tunisians are creating binary oppositions to establish themselves as individuals,” he concluded.

submitted by http://the13thcatsmeow.tumblr.com/

Not the most politically correct/sensitively worded article but a real eye-opener to the climate of anti-black racism in Tunisia.

schomburgcenter:

Don’t miss two awesome concerts with leading Tunisian singers Ghalia Benali and Emel Mathlouthi, part of French Institute Alliance Française Festival World Nomads Tunisia! Enjoy Ghalia’s soulful melodic songs 5/15 and Emel’s powerful fiery music on 5/22. Get the two ticket package and save!

Details Ghalia: http://bit.ly/11WFsce  

Details Emel: http://bit.ly/ZXmZ0J

The ancient El Ghriba Synagogue, also known as the Djerba Synagogue, is located on the Tunisian island of Djerba. It is situated in the Jewish village of Hara Seghira, several kilometres southwest of Houmt Souk, the capital of Djerba.

Built in the Moorish architectural style, it is also Africa’s oldest synagogue. The name “El Ghriba” means “the marvelous”, or “the strange”, in Arabic.