Travel At Morocco

Berber People

Berber or Amazigh
The Amazigh or Berber people

The Amazigh or Berber people, also known as Berbers, are an indigenous ethnic group primarily inhabiting North Africa, including countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Egypt and Gran Canaria.

 

The term ‘Berber’ is often shrouded in mystery, much like the Amazigh people themselves. Regardless of personal preferences regarding its usage, the term has entered the international lexicon and will be employed here when writing in English. The matriarchal term ‘Tamazight,’ although more commonly recognized in its recent masculine form ‘Amazigh,’ is gradually gaining recognition outside its native context.

This is not to suggest that using the term ‘Berber’ is inherently wrong simply because of its mistaken association with the Greek word ‘barbarous’ and the negative connotations it carries. The term predates Greek and Roman influence and was used by both the Ancient Egyptians and the Berbers long before them. The etymology of ‘Berber’ has been widely misunderstood; it never meant ‘barbaric’ or ‘savage,’ as evidenced by its use by the Romans to describe the advanced Ancient Egyptians.

The term “Berbers”

Historically, used by foreigners to describe the native inhabitants of North Africa, while the Berbers themselves refer to themselves as Imazighen. The supposed etymology of “Free People” or “Freemen” lacks both etymological basis and historical foundation. The only etymology that can be conclusively drawn so far is “noble,” as in Tamaheqt made (‘Nobel’). Noble they may be, but the assertion of freedom is dubious.

Imazighen is the plural form of the masculine singular Amazigh or Mazigh, while ‘Timazighin’ is the plural form of the feminine singular Tamazight. Therefore, the recent use of the term ‘Amazigh’ to describe a group of people is incorrect, as the term is singular. The correct form to use is the plural: the Imazighen. The popular and masculine form used almost worldwide, namely “Amazigh Language,” does not exist, violates the sacred Tamazight, and seems to threaten the very foundation on which it is based—the matriarchal nature of Amazigh society. Tamazight encompasses language, culture, identity, humanity, and religion.

Tamazgha:

Meaning the ‘land of the Imazighen’ or North Africa was coined by activists to describe what the Berbers have traditionally referred to as ‘Thamorth’ (‘land, town, country’). Terms like ‘Amazighity’ and ‘Imazighenautes’ give the impression that things are becoming convoluted.

While some argue that modernization can coexist with indigenous cultures, Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) continuously modernizes all aspects of human existence in one cohesive system known as evolution. This extensive TEK knowledge ensures cultural continuity, inspires innovation, and encompasses all aspects of human existence.

The mentality of the Amazigh people, their cheerful attitude toward life, their customary egalitarian justice, and tribal councils may all be affected by the new cultural direction toward which Amazigh society may find itself heading. This is something the Imazighen of today should be concerned with, as the loss of their unique identity could lead to the disappearance of the essence of being Amazigh.

To strip indigenous peoples of their pride and deprive them of the values at the heart of their existence is contrary to human ideals. The Berber Tuareg of the Sahara have also been subjected to patriarchal impositions in recent decades, forcing them to abandon several matriarchal institutions, including the “sacred matrilineal naming system.”

Tamazight language:

Tamazight, also known as Berber, is a family of closely related Amazigh languages spoken by the Berber people across North Africa,

Tamazight languages have a rich oral tradition and were historically primarily spoken languages, although efforts have been made to standardize and promote their written forms in recent decades. In Morocco, for example, Tamazight has gained official recognition alongside Arabic as a national language, and efforts have been made to incorporate it into education and media.

Despite this progress, Tamazight languages face challenges such as limited resources for education and literacy in these languages, as well as pressure from the dominance of Arabic and French in North Africa. However, there is a growing movement for the preservation and promotion of Tamazight languages and cultures.

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