This section contains posts about noteworthy algerian personnalities who have influenced Algerian history or enriched Algeria’s cultural, political, economic or intellectual landscapes. Whether famous politicians, writers, business people, artists or ordinary individuals we have come to know of and who have done things that marked or inspired us.
Azzedine Meddour was born on May 8th, 1947 in Sidi-Aich, Bejaia, and there he completed his primary and secondary schooling.
He studied French Literature at the university of Algiers and then went to Moscow to study cinematography in the oldest film school in the world, the VGIK. There he met and married Russian Erina in 1977. They had two daughters. Continue reading →
One of the reasons why I liked Orhan Pamuk‘s famous book My name is Red, which I mentioned here, was the fact its main characters were Ottoman miniaturists who viewed their art, philosophically, as the perfect art; and who competed with their Persian counterparts and European painters who practised a different art.
In Algeria, and perhaps in most parts of the world, we cannot think of the past century’s art of miniature without mentioning Mohamed Racim (Wiki [En], [Fr]), the father of Algerian miniature.
Mohamed Racim (born 24 June 1896, Algiers – died 30 March 1975, Elbiar, Algiers) was born into an artists family. Both his father and uncle owned a wood-carving and copper-working workshop in The Casbah. Mohamed and his (un)equally famous brother, Omar Racim, worked in the workshop and there they learn the bases of their art. Continue reading →
Every time Algeria holds its local elections, a movie comes to my mind and probably to many of my compatriots’. I am speaking of Carnaval fi dechra (watch here) and its main character Makhlouf el Bombardi portrayed by Athmane Ariouat.
Athmane Ariouat was born in M’doukal, Batna. At the age of 10, his family moved to Algiers where he studied at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique d’Alger between 1969 and 1972. He also took Arabic theatre courses under Mustapha Kasdarli’s supervision. The rest of his biography can be found on Wikipedia (Ar, Fr) or in this video. Continue reading →
I first heard of Hanin Omar in 2007 in the “Princes of Poets” TV show. She is one of Algeria’s new generation poets, many of whom write in Arabic and some in French. She was born in Oran in 1984 (I am not very sure about the year) and, besides being a poet, she is a medical doctor.
In one of her interviews, she said that she started writing poetry at the age of 9 when she came across a poetry book, read one of Nizar Qabbani‘s poems and tried to copy him. She likes to call herself “the pupil of Nizar Qabbani”, while some do call her “words fairy” or “poetry Cinderella”. Don’t ask me why.
Rais Hamidou is one of the most famous corsairs of the Regency of Algiers. He was and still is very popular among Algerians mainly because he was a very powerful corsair who won many battles (and captured many ships and prisoners), because he was the last great Rais before Algeria’s invasion, and because he was a local (tawa3na) unlike the other major corsairs who came from Europe.
Albert Devoulx, who wrote a lot about the Regency of Algiers, could retrieve many documents related to Rais Hamidou and wrote therefore a book about his life. You can download it from the second link I provided here.
Rais Hamidou ben Ali was born in El Casbah of Algiers in the 1770s. His ancestors being Kabyles from the Isser district in Boumerdes. He started training to become a tailor like his father, but the stories he hears on Algeria’s corsairs ignited his thirst for adventure and pushed him to leave the training and sail in a Regency’s ship at the age of 10 or 11. Continue reading →
He is known as Rouiched (as in little Rachid, big Rachid being great Rachid Ksentini) but his real name was Ahmed Ayad. He was born in 1921 in El Casbah, Algiers. He left school at the age of 13 and started working. He sold vegetables and fruits among other jobs.
Mahmoud Stambouli discovered him and helped him get a small role in Abdelhamid Ababsa‘s “estardje3 ya assi” play, and the public liked one scene where Rouiched punched the judge. Continue reading →
While I was zapping between the many Turkish TV channels I receive (I am not addicted to Turkish soaps, not to all :-)) I heard the word “doshman” (dusman in Turkish) which we happen to use in Kabyle. I thought how interesting; not only the word is Turkish but it kept almost the same meaning after being “Kabyle-ised”. This reminded me of Benecheb’s book on Turkish words in Algerian dardja.
Very little is known about the biography of the late Wardia (or Ouardia). It is a sad reflection of the indifference with which we treat our artists, and Wardia was a great artist. I don’t think there is a single Algerian face Wardia didn’t bring a smile to. Larger than life is what comes to mind when speaking of her, a genereous lady, with a great natural talent. When I was a kid, I used to call her Khalti Wardia (Auntie Wardia), I remember that initially, I found her very loud and the roles she acted in her movies seemed quite scandaleous to me. But I grew to be fond of her because I felt that she was simply spontaneous and authentic. Funny too, hilarious actually. Continue reading →
No Algerian in the world ignores this authentic and much loved Algerian brand of fizzy drinks, limonades and sirups. It is commonly referred to as El Guezouz (Algerian version of the French word ‘gazeuse’). Hamoud Boualem (حمود بوعلام) is a well-known and loved family-owned business. The first factory was established in 1878 in ex-Belcourt now known as Belouizdad (Algiers) by Youssef Hammoud. In 1889, the limonade Hamoud was presented in the Universal Exhibition (Exposition Universelle 1889) in Paris, where it won the prize for the best drink. It was in the same event that a preliminary prototype of la Tour Effeil was displayed. The brand Hamoud went on to win many more gold medals in various exhibitions (as many as 20 according to some accounts). Continue reading →
Her real name is Fatma Haddad, she married Hadj Mahieddine El Mahfoudh, a well-known Algerian musician. She was born at Bordj el-Kiffan in Algiers on the 12th December 1931, to a poor family and she lost both her parents when she was five-year old. She was then looked after by her grand-mother. When Baya was ten, a French woman (Marguerite Caminat-Benhoura), who feld to Algeria to escape World War II, offered her a room in her house. Marguerite was working as an Continue reading →