Berbers Tribe in Morocco



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Origin The Berbers are native to North Africa and it is estimated that there are between 30 and 40 million Berber speaking people in Africa. The majority lives in Morocco and Algeria, with pockets of

Berbers Tribe in Morocco Description

Origin

The Berbers are native to North Africa and it is estimated that there are between 30 and 40 million Berber speaking people in Africa. The majority lives in Morocco and Algeria, with pockets of Berbers people residing in Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Smaller communities can also be found in Egypt and Burkina Faso.

The Berbers have a long and ancient history, much of which has been overlooked because the ancient people had no written language. The first hint of their history came with the discovery of cave paintings. North African cave paintings as old as 12,000 years have been found in Tadrart Acacus, Libya. Many of the paintings depict farming activities and domestic animals. There are also paintings that have been found at Tassili n’Ajjer in southeastern Algeria.

Leadership Hierarchy

There is a very definite hierarchy within each tribe but how the chain of command is regulated depends on the region. Each tribe will have a leader and in the Middle Ages some leaders were women. The most famous is probably Kabylia who fought for her people against the French.

It is typically the men who choose a wife for themselves within their tribe, but in some tribes the decision is taken from him and is made by the families. Although in the Tuareg tribe it is the woman who chooses the man she would like to marry. It will depend on the tribe whether the family structure is patriarchal or matriarchal. The strict adherence to custom has given the Berber people a strong sense of unity and has protected their culture.

Popular Cultural Events

It is one of the better known festivals and is also known as the Game of Gunpowder. When battles were still fought on horseback, Berbers were skilled horseman and their skill was a strong asset in battle. Today this same horsemanship is showcased as a performance during or at the closing of a Berber wedding celebration. They will also perform at religious or cultural celebrations. There are many Fantasia groups in Morocco, also known as Serba groups.

The performance is an exhilarating colorful display of expert riding. A group of riders adorned in traditional dress, line up on their horses. They rush forward at great speed for about 200 meters before firing their old gunpowder loaded weapons, into the air, in unison, effectively creating one synchronized sound. This is where the skill lies. The riders have to not only keep their horses in a straight line while charging forward but have to also fire a single shot at the very same moment as their fellow riders.

Location and Size

Most Berbers people live in the rural regions of Morocco. This includes the mountainous regions—the High Atlas, Middle Atlas, and Rif mountains—as well as the desert areas. However, due to a lack of economic opportunity in rural communities, many families move to larger cities such as Marrakech, Casablanca, or Tangier in order to find work.

The most recent census in Morocco (2006) estimated the number of Berbers speakers to be 28% of the population.

 

 

 

 

 


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