This week, we interviewed Zaouicha Aït Braham and Malik Harouche of the cultural association of Kabyle Berbers in Brussels, Timlilit.
The Berbers, or Amazigh, are an ethnic group of North Africa, present in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and more in the south, Mauritania. They have been living there since ancient times. Originally, the word “Berber” comes from the Latin term “barbarous”, which referred to people not speaking the same language as the Romans or the Greeks.
“Depending on the country, the Berbers have organized themselves into sub-groups. We come from Algeria and we are Berbers from Kabylie. The word “Kabyle” comes from the Arabic word “tribe”, explains Malik Harouche.
Despite the fact that the Berbers are geographically spread and have different lifestyles, they are united by their culture.
“We have a common language called Tamaziɣt. This language is very old and has a unique alphabet, the Tuaregs, still used today. “, explains Zaouicha Aït Braham.
The Timlilit association regularly organizes meetings with Kabyle writers to promote the richness of the Berber language and its literature. “The Berber literature is known around the world, thanks to writers like Taos Amrouche Mouloud Feraoun or Mouloud Mammeri. What is important for us is not only to promote our language and literature, but also to provide a forum for intellectual exchange.“, says Malik Harouche.
Another important aspect of their culture is a unique craft expertise.
According to Zaouicha Aït Braham, “Kabylie being a mountainous region, agriculture is limited. Kabyle crafts thus played an economic role, as well as enamels, to a lesser extent. The Berber Algerian craft consists mainly of silverware, pottery, clothes, woodworking and basketry.“
If you are interested in learning more about the Berber culture, Timlilit is organizing “The Berber Spring” on 25 April 2015. The event will take place at Maison du quartier Malibran, (10 rue de la digue, 1050 Ixelles). It will start at 4 p.m and you will get to enjoy Kabyle pastries and admire Kabyle art and crafts while listening to traditional Berber music played by the musician Boussad. Timlilit will also be present at the Cultures United Festival of UNITEE.