The promotional poster for the festival
Tangier – Najwan Teijani
Tangier, Nothern Morocco is experiencing an inflow of culture this month as the 7th Mediterranean Festival of Amazigh Culture "Toisa" launches in the city. There is a noted number
of Amazigh activists joining from neighboring Arab countries taking part in the activities of the festival this year; Amani Al Weshahi from Egypt, Fathi Khalifa from Libya, Khadija Bin Saida from Tunisia, Farhat Muhanni from Algeria and Ahmed Arhamoush from Morocco are all scheduled to make an appearance. The activists will be discussing issues relating to problems facing the Amazigh’s position on current events taking place in the Arab region. Head of Toisa Charity and Tanja city Sheriff, Omar Alamari said, “this cultural festival comes in time with announcing Amazigh as an official part of the Moroccan Constitution.” Alamari explained that this is a new beginning for Morocco; he is building the foundations for a city that’s wide open to all cultures and heritages. The factors making up Moroccan identity and the large-scale projects in its near future demonstrate that Morocco is heading towards a future grounded in their roots, yet looking for modernity, advancement, and luxury.
A spokesperson for the festival, Mr. Abdul Latif Al Ghalbzouri, stressed the fact that the festival is a symbol of change that goes hand-in-hand with the motion of moving forward whether through concerts, seminars, or creative activities. He pointed out that extra hard work has to take place in order to keep the culture and language of the Amazigh alive. He stressed the need to achieve balance between this ancient language and the Arabic language, especially now that it has been made official by the Moroccan Constitution; a country whose culture is also associated with freedom and dignity.
Friday’s opening night will combine brilliant performances by Southern Italian band Eugenio Bennato and the Walid Mimoun group from the Moroccan countryside, and will be concluded with a performance by Tangier’s own rap artist, “Muslim.” The night would not be complete without guest star Bou Jomaa Azhaf performing on the night. Also concluding the opening night will be the infamous Ithran Amazigh group, who represent the countryside of Northern Morocco, in addition to Izenzarn group from the Souss region of South-central Morocco. On the stage we will also witness performances by Nass El Ghiwane group followed by a performance by Zeina El Daoudeyeh group.
One of the defining moments of the festival will be the performances by artists Omaima Khalil and the notorious Saida Fikri, in addition to Ankamar Group from the Atlas region. The artists will be performing their famous songs paying tribute to their land and freedom. They will all be performing in the biggest square in downtown Tangier on Saturday 23rd July. The last days of the festival will have performances by Takada group followed by Almasheb group who will perform a number of their timeless songs. In addition there will be a performance by the Taqtoqa Mountains region representative artist, Mohamed Laaroussi.
A stage has been added this year in the Bani Makada square, where countryside group Ithran will be performing next Saturday, followed by performances by Abd al Malik Al Andalusi of Al-Aita mountains, Nass El Ghiwane and Masenza Group on Sunday.
Other activities taking place during the festival are a number of symposia, such as “Amazigh in the heart of change,” which discusses the presence of the Amazigh culture and its identity in Morocco throughout the process of change currently taking place. It is headed by Hasan Ourid and Ahmed Boukous and Saededdine Alothmani, leader of the Justice and Development party.