In Casablanca, the 4th Amazigh Theatrical Festival is promoting the use of the Amazigh language and cultural practices. Observers say that while this is a good way of promoting the culture, the responsible authorities in Morocco need to do more to shed light on Amazigh culture.
In Casablanca, northern Morocco, the 4th Amazigh Theatre is promoting Amazigh culture and language through performances aimed at supporting Amazigh actors, singers and choreographers in the country. Throughout the festival, artists seek to highlight the unique Amazigh culture and its differences with Arab culture in Morocco.
“We continue to believe that the 4th Theatre Festival must advance more and carry an important part of defending the Amazigh identity and enhancing the Berber language,” said one of the organisers of the 4th Theatre Festival.
The Amazigh community, who are also known as Berbers, are an ethnic group with a separate language that is indigenous to North Africa, with significant populations within Morocco and neighbouring Mauritania. Through theatrical performances, the Berber community hope to enlighten others, including the citizens of Morocco and the country’s growing tourism industry, of their traditional culture and language.
“[Our] culture is tolerant, open and based on human values such as equality between women and men,” said one of the participants of the festival. “The rights of the other, openness and non-closure and combating all kinds of extremism [are values of our culture]”.
Despite the success of the theatre festival, the continuity of the performances is dependent upon material and financial support in the future, which the artistic community is currently lacking. Many of the participants in the theatre festival have called on the relevant government departments responsible for Moroccan culture to secure the future of the festival, which would allow the Berber community to continue its drive to educate people in Morocco about their history.
“We have used many symbols related to our heritage, such as decoration and clothing,” said another of the organisers of the 4th Amazigh Theatre Festival. “Then, of course, the cultural value, which we have shown, is deeply rooted in the Berber culture.”