After an absence of two years caused by the pandemic, the Nomads Festival returned to Morocco. Deep in the desert and over three days, the event aims to keep alive the old ways in a fast moving society dominated by new technology.
“The international nomads festival is looking to connect with various activities all linked to nomadism. This festival is coming back this year with a rich programme: exhibitions and activities all linked to nomadism such as the camels race and preparing then cooking bread loaves in the sand”, said the Nomads Festival director Nourredine Bougrab.
Central to nomadic culture is the camel, an animal that played a major role both in war and establishing trade routes through the desert.
“It’s thanks to camels that the Arab and Islamic culture was spread over the Sahara, from Essaouira to Cairo and Tangier to Timbuktu. For me, the role of the camel is endless. The camel keeps the nomads heritage alive. Since the year 2000, it was made an intangible heritage by the UNESCO ”, explained Issa Dicko, Director of the Tumast Cultural Centre in Bamako, Mali.
For the first time, the festival invited three storytellers from Mali, France and Morocco who captivated the audience with their tales.
“Nomads and the Moroccan society in general, were basing the education of their families and children on storytelling. At night, the grandma used to gather her family to tell them stories she learnt herself from her mother and grandmother. She was telling them stories full of strong messages”, said Moroccan storyteller, Nabila El Fahmy.
The annual event takes place in southeast Morocco, in the small town of Mhamid El Ghizlane, famous for its rich heritage and legendary hospitality.