Les Rites Berbères

The Berber are an ethnically distinct tribal people who have inhabited North Africa for thousands of years. In the centuries that followed the Arab conquest many Berber communities were driven from the plains to the high country, where they sought arable land, grass for their livestock, and, above all, freedom. Nowhere has denial of their identity been more systematic than in Morocco.


In March 2000, several hundred Berber intellectuals signed the Berber Manifesto, which describes the humiliation and alienation many Berbers feel as members of an oppressed minority.


I spent time with one family of shepherds as they drove their flock up to the higher pastures for the spring. Listening to their stories as we wound our way up steep valleys, sharing in their delicious meals and lapping up their wild joyful humour was a true and inspiring pleasure.