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Algiers Series | Timimoun Connections | A young boy orders some snacks from the tea hotspot in central Algiers. Customers are plenty at this favourite snack hut in the heart of the capital. Friendly chat is exchanged as people wait for their orders of fresh mint tea. The tea shop resembles a hole in the wall but one that is not easily missed. In a box-like store in the wall, a window allows passersby to peer in from the sidewalkRead more

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Marrakech Series | Musical Chairs | An impromptu tour of the Kasbah leads me back to questions around the nature of North African street socials. It has been a thing and continues to be a thing since the region’s pre and post colonial liberation periods. Men drag their wooden stools and ideas from corner to corner in pursuit of a conversation. They speak of politics and daily struggles, family woes and causes for celebration. Depending on cultural and religious etiquette,Read more

Book

Recommended reading on poets that speak hybrid languages: bint il neel I no surprise it was your father started it taught you allah’s word and said sing daughter sing a bird you sang from your belly to soar over all of egypt in the delta’s villages muwlads weddings ramadan breakfasts you flew your voice no surprise it was god started it put a burning in your mouth and said open up and sing you were young and a novelty voiceRead more

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Sti Fatma Series | The Very Real Side of Tourist Entertainment | My mother and I find ourselves serenaded bank side of a waterfall footpath as we tuck into lunch in the middle of a hiking excursion of the Sti Fatma mountains. The sound is upbeat and airy, with the thud of the bendir (frame drum) and its deep vibration being induced merily from the fibres of the gentlemen on the right. In full traditional attire (or Djelleba as theyRead more

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Algiers Series | Grande Poste Family | Some time has passed and life opens like a beautiful flower. When the people speak of La Grande Poste, my heart flutters with each syllabe as I hang on to every word my father had told of an époque filled with art and creativity. My father spent the best of his youth in an apartment adjacent and arm in arm with the big old architectural beauty that people frequent for their daily mail,Read more

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Algiers Series | Unexpected Love Story | Didou swore by his love for his wife. So much so that he decorated every corner of his inner city apartment block in ceramic celebrations of her life. After all it was her dying wish. In the entrance hallway of a European build, he has plastered pictures of his beloved, family members and memories from his boxing days. Didou talks through every picture like a tribute, each attached to a story he insistsRead more

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Algiers Series | Culture and Pride |Between an opulent facade of the monumental Grande Poste D’Alger and the Boulevard Mohamed Khemisti, a heritage pop-up souq is set up. People glance at a pottery stand as they go about their day in the centre of Algiers. The merchants joke lightly amongst themselves, because even though struggle is imbedded in the history and the very fabrication of the culture, laughter is always a means to get by. Algiers is neither fast paceRead more

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Doha Series | Maghrib |The call to prayer echos throughout the older parts of the city and across the centralised Souq. Men rush to perform oblution before the call is over. It’s a magnetic force of good to remind them all that whatever happens from day to day, a collective prayer keeps them hopefully united, humble and giving.Read more

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Marrakech Series: Motorbikes in the Medina I These days the Medina is synonymous with the rumbling sound. Motorbikes whizzing through the narrow streets of the Kasbah, dodging traffic to get to the other side. Brown, blue, white djellabas blowing in the wind.  Apart from being the most conventional way to navigate through heavy traffic, most Marrakechis choose to commute on bikes because they are simply more affordable than cars and marginally cheaper to maintain. This medieval city with a Berber spirit dating back toRead more

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Atlas Mountains Series: Berber Woman make Argan Oil I Berber women in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains show me how to extract argan oil from the argania spinosa fruit using traditional methods. The argan nut is carefully cracked and the containing kernal grinded down to a thick paste using a stone quern. The paste is then squeezed by hand to produce the oil. For making argan cooking oil, kernels are often roasted before the grinding process. These women sit outdoors inRead more