Can we add to the numerous “Happy New Year!” you have heard so far, as this is our first post of the year. As a platform for Africans, one of the goals for Africanism Today this year is to show you what’s like to live and breathe in different African communities from the eyes of the native. For this awesome interview, we are going to Morocco, specifically Agadir. OnyinyeOlufunmi journeys through this Ancient North African community with Hajar Chouikh.
OnyinyeOlufunmi – Please introduce yourself.
Hajar Chouikh – My full name is Hajar Chouikh, I was born in the southern part of Morocco; in a small traditional city called Taroudant, 88km away from Agadir which is where I live now.
OO – Are both your parents Moroccan?
HJ – Yes, both my parents are moroccan so I’m fully Moroccan. My mom is from Taroudant and Dad is from Essaouira city which I often go to.
OO – What Moroccan tribe are you from?
HJ – I’m an Arab Moroccan but I grew in a mixed society of Arab and Amazigh. However, I only speak Arabic.
OO – That’s interesting I thought Moroccans were just Amazigh only not Arabs. Tell us how it feels different.
HJ -Being a Moroccan Arab makes me feel special, one of the reasons is that I can understand all other Arabic accents, knowing of delicious home made Arabic food, etc.
OO – What’s like living in Agadir?
HJ – I live in Agadir city, as a student of English. Life is cool down here; it’s fun being a student in a city that doesn’t sleep.
OO – Is that what makes Agadir unique?
HJ – Every city in Morocco is different from the other and each has its own special charm. Agadir has a perfect weather and a comfortable atmosphere to live in. It’s beautiful and close to the sea.
OO – Being an Arab Moroccan, does it conflict with your being African? Do you have to choose between the two?
HJ – I honestly see myself more as an Arab because other African countries are different from us when it comes to language and culture.
OO – Does that apply to Arab Moroccans or all Moroccans?
HJ – Most moroccans do forget that they are actually a part of Africa, or that they are Africans as we are more identified to be Arabs in general. Even the world sees us Arabs and questions our authenticity to be Africans because we are not dark enough.
OO – But you are African. Irrespective of your colour. Does being Moroccan influence your perspective on life?
HJ – Being a Moroccan sometimes do influence the way you see life depending on your education and the entourage you grew up in. For me, it doesn’t affect the way I see life as Moroccans themselves have different mentalities and perspectives.
OO – Have you visited other African countries?
HJ – I haven’t travelled to other African countries so far. But I would love to one day.
**All pictures used were taken by Hajar Chouikh.