Secrets of the Sahara; Identity or custom?
People change, the why differs but the outcome is almost the same.
Kebili has witnessed alot of changes over the years, the people, the buildings, the life style, the thinking…etc
I always like to have this vision about the people, i like to analyze even when they are just walking. To not let myself get lost, i’ll take outfit or clothing as a criterion to describe this quantum leap in kebili.
The ancient city of Kebili is where they used to live as all my readers already know. Like some stories i’ve heard says, when arabs and afros came to live there, they found berbers, then civilizations started to flourish ( Andalusian, Romanian, Turkish…). The revision between these different civilization and the citizens of ancient Kebili is from where emerges their outfit which we refer to now as traditional.
Females have their own outfit ( حولي، ثوب، بخنوق، حزام. ), males have their own too ( جبة، فرملة، سروال عربي، شاشية، برنوس), workers have their outfit, in occasions each has a specific outfit. I couldn’t find a translation to the words because they are local so i will try to explain them in pictures. Arabic language isn’t easy even for arabs and especially for me, honestly. The effects of the revision wasn’t only at the level of outfit but also language, food, economy…etc
The Jews who lived in Kebili played a great role in the economy of the city July 25, 1893, The Jews bought what its called then up to now “Souk el Bayez” or “market of Bayez”, and they set up the market not in the ancient city but in the “medina” and that was one of the big reasons that pushed people to change their residence, then life style then outfit…etc
The idea that these traditional clothes are a sign of primitivism was plant in the citizens’ mind and it was passed through generations up to the current one.
Mr. Abdelkader Rwin was the last person who left the ancient city of Kebili in 1996.
The ancient city of Kebili was his soul and spirit, soon as he left it, he passed away.
“Souk el Bayaz” still exists now, but the greatness and beauty of this place has gone. Now, what is referred to as “modernization” took over.
People nowadays almost totally forget about their roots, back to our criterion which is clothing, we don’t see our old people wearing ” جبة” like they used to, rarely they do or in some celebrations.
I went to a modern store in the city center of Kebili called “Charme” which belongs to mrs. Moufida Khlifa, specilized in selling clothes for females.
Very good modalities, the majority of their clothes are imported from Turkey, Italy and France, the rest is national production, fixed prices but the price’s negociation always exists. Though it’s a modern store but in some of their goods we can still see the sense of the traditional. May be they are just selling it but i was happy to see it there. I asked them why they don’t sell traditional outfits and their answer was “there they are some traditional clothes”, i laughed and said that these are modernized traditionals while i’m asking about pure traditional. The answer was convenient, she said :” that’s traditional for us”. It was better than the answer of a friend when i asked him what he thinks would happen if we started wearing traditional outfits in our daily routine, he replied :”people will laugh at us”
“Ahmed El Boukhari el Khaldi”, One of the founders of the Old City Maintenance Society of Kebili, and one of the few who hang on their traditions. He currently has a traditional store in the city center of Kebili in which he sells and displays ancient outfits and goods, clothes, carpets, shoes, accessories and even toys.
Well equiped store unlike the store run by the family who decided not only to hang on the ancient but also to live in the ancient city of Kebili, mr. Moncef Seddik, his wife madam Hafsia Mlik and their daughter Leila Seddik. They have a small store in the ancient kebili in which they spend their day, welcoming guests and selling some crafts and goods, home made coffee and tea and Mtabga.
We honor these people for their preservness.