Wednesday, February 07, 2018

15th International Nomad Festival


The association "Nomads of the World" launches the 15th edition of the International Festival of Nomads in M'hamid El Ghizlane, in the province of Zagora.  It runs from the 22nd to the 24th of March

The cultural event gives the local and international public access to ancestral arts and traditions. On the program are three days of music, debates, traditional sports and gastronomy.

Artists from Hungary, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, France and Morocco will take part in the festival. Ffteen open-air concerts will liven up the nights in the centre of M'hamid.

"Music programming is developed to provide a balance between internationally renowned artists and those in the making. The aim is to reach a diverse audience, to create links and to reinforce the fraternal dimension of the event ", explains the director of the event, Noureddine Bougrab.

The days will feature the traditional activities of the Saharan nomads. Cross-country sand hockey players known locally as "mok'hach", the competitors of the camel race called "ellaz". There will also be a sand loaf competition, "la mella" and a demonstration of nomadic tents.

Another tradition, that of the palaver, will be highlighted during the debates, presentations and workshops in the forum of Nomads. The themes will focus on the heritage and history of this Drâa-Tafilalet region. "This ancient cultural crossroads was a crucial step in trans-Saharan trade. But how to think about solutions for the future of nomadism in a Sahara that has seen its nomadic population shrink by 70% in the last decade? National and international specialists will deliver their visions, "emphasizes Noureddine Bougrab.

The festival-goers will also be able to discover the Monday Souk with its colours and scents.

 According to the director of the event, "the festival is a unifying event that, on the one hand, highlights the heritage of nomads and radiates the Hassani culture and on the other hand, supports the local economy by contributing to the attractiveness of M'hamid El Ghizlane in the Drâa-Tafilalet region and encouraging spectators of all origins to visit the area ".

Noureddine Bougrab, teacher of classical Arabic in M'hamid school, insists on the involvement of young people for the smooth running of the festival which welcomed 20,000 people and 300 stakeholders in 2017. "We expect even more this year" he says. This event is the result of a close collaboration between the association "Nomads of the World" and national and regional partners.

A look back at the 2017 edition


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