Secrets From The Sahara : Days of Nostalgia.. Spring of the Oasis
Days of Nostalgia, a cultural, touristic, patrimonial manifestation, organized by the Ancient City of Kebili’s Protecting and Maintenance Association. This manifestation or celebration has started since the mid 90s, exactly in 1995 as an initiative from the President and one of the Founding Fathers of the the Assembly Ahmed Elboukhari El khalidi and it was called «Days of Nostalgia.. Spring of Oasis ».
The purpose of Days of Nostalgia is to consolidate the region’s heritage so it survives throughout the generations, it also aims to remind of the need to take care of the archaeological sites and heritage in the city, not to forget providing the atmosphere of celebration and entertainment on the region and supporting the cultural and touristic mobility.
Giving it a new spirit was for one day event and the current governing body, in which i’m the member responsible for cultural activities, is seeking to establish it within three days as it was before because of its role in reviving and revitalizing the old town and because it makes the people and guests enjoy during the demonstration of traditional life. In addition, the manifestation at all copied earlier, spared any cultural or artistic nature, and it kept touching in its tastes and meet the needs of all age groups.
Days of Nostalgia is the principal engine of our Association to achieve the objectives desired such as preserving the traditional architectural heritage and desert architectural characteristics of the Ancient City of Kébili, preserving its cultural heritage through the revival of crafts and traditional industries, encouraging young people who have certificates of training and higher education to establish tourism, cultural, environmental and agricultural projects, and most importantly is to encourage the government and the people to restore and repair the ancient city of Kébili.
The Ancient city of Kébili which i referred to in my previous article as the city of no citizens, has been abandoned, as an attempt to remind the people of the importance of the history that has been left there, previous members of the association has created Days of Nostalgia, 3 days manifestation, 3 days of celebration, 3 days to spend from sunrise to sunset in the ancient city of Kébili exactly as people used to live there, what they used to cook, what they used to sing, how they used to celebrate, how they survived…etc
Days of Nostalgia has continued up to 2011 when it has stopped because of the tunisian revolution. Old members and creators of the association has passed the responsibility of taking care of their association to us through an honest public elections in which people has chosen us, a group of youth and mid-aged members, so our first initiative was to revive the manifestation which was in March the 19th, 2016. We made it in one day as a reminder for the people that Days of Nostalgia still exists and will continue, a non-expected number of people came, we were surprised, the principal show was the Sufi show, it’s a tradition, we as a new generation still don’t understand the aim of it but we respect it and we do it and we enjoy it.
This year, we decided to create a link through this manifestation between the ancient and the modern, we made it in 3 days as it used to be and this was the reason i was too busy to write for the magazine, i was in an excessive preparation with my team.
We started with a Carnival, an embodiment of the traditional wedding, started from the city center heading to the ancient city of Kébili where other people were cooking and waiting to start the celebration with traditionl music performances.
A Traditional Industries Exhibition was set in the ancient Kébili, a chance for men and women to present their crafts.
The second day, with music on and traditional games and competitions, there was a play performed by a street theatre group which describes the colonial resistence of the cititizens of ancient Kébili against the french colonizer called « Fallaga ».
Then at night, there was a modern performance of a new singer « Mortadha ».
The third and last day, we invited people who lived in the ancient city of Kébili and people who have a good idea about the ancient life in Kébili to narrate for the audience how life used to look like, permeated with some traditional ancient poems and verses and jokes.
And of course, we ended the activities with the usual Sufi show « Al Hadhra ».
I said earlier that the new generations feel some kind of a way about these Sufi shows because during « Al Hadhra », you can see some weird stuff, dangerous stuff, but.. no one gets hurt, not even one drop of a blood. They have their own songs, their own dance and moves, their own paroles, we sometimes feel that there exist a connection between the human world and the world of spirits during these shows, i myself still didn’t go deep in that but one day i will. I would like to understand and i know that when you see the pictures i put, you will have the same passion i have to understand. For now, we enjoy that show and all the people too from different ages, different races.
Days of Nostalgia, Spring of the Oasis, days of the Ancient kébili, days of the ancient citizens and days of the ancient time, days of the memories, days of reminiscing, days of sighs. Nostalgia to the past, Nostalgia to a brighter future for the city of no citizens. A celebration of what we still have as a heritage, awareness of the importance of protecting it. People enjoy, smile, eat, laugh, dance.. but inside they are sad because they wish life goes back like it used to be.