Amazigh: the indigenous people of north Africa

Here is a great article written and presented by one of our members for one his pathway projects.

Children from Mozabites people

I am an Amazigh, I was born in Ghardaia (see picture below), a city located in the south of Algeria. I will write an article to describe this beautiful city where there are 7 castles of Mozabites. The Mozabites are the descendants of one of the big Berber’s tribes, it’s known as Zannati tribe. So who are Berbers or Amazigh?

City of Ghardaia

Berbers or Imazighen (Berber languages: ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ, romanized: Imaziɣen; singular: Amaziɣ, ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖ ⵎⵣⵗ; Arabic: أمازيغ‎) are an ethnic group which is indigenous to North Africa, specifically MoroccoAlgeriaTunisiaLibya, the Canary Islands, and to a lesser extent Mauritania, northern Mali, and northern Niger. Smaller Berber populations are also found in Burkina Faso and Egypt’s Siwa Oasis. Historically, Berber nations spoke the Berber languages, which are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family.

The term Berber comes from the Greek: βάρβαρος (barbaros pl. βάρβαροι barbaroi) which means ‘barbarian‘. The Romans also used the word to refer to their neighbours who are not Romans.

What language do Berbers speak?

The Amazigh language, known as Tamazight, became an official language in 2011. Having been preserved in Amazigh enclaves, it is spoken by roughly one-third of the people.

The heaviest concentration of Berber speakers is found in Morocco. Major Berber languages include Tashelhit (Tashelhiyt, Tashelhait, Shilha), Tarifit, Kabyle, Tamazight, Tomzabte, Tachaouite and Tamahaq.

What are Amazigh countries?

The Amazigh, also often referred to as Berber, are descendants of the pre-Arab people in North Africa. The Amazigh population amounts to around 30 to 40 million people, who are spread out across Morocco (around 14 million), Algeria (around 9 million), Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Niger and Mauritania

What does the word Amazigh mean?

Free People

We are called Amazigh, plural Imazighen, a word which means “free people” in the Indigenous Tamazight language. … Among outsiders, the more common – though incorrect – name for Imazighen is Berber, a term that is largely rejected by Imazighen for its negative connotations.

What is Berber tattoo?

Historically, Amazigh (Berber) women tattooed their faces, feet, arms, and other body parts for beauty, health, and protection. … Beyond beautification, tattoos told the stories of tribes, tied women to their land, and conveyed familial ties.

What is the Berber religion?

One aspect of life where we do see the strong influence of Arab culture is in the religion of North African Berbers. The Berbers across this region are predominantly Muslim. … Other Berber groups have maintained their traditional religions, and still others have adopted Judaism.

When did Berbers convert to Islam?

The Arab Muslim conquerors had a much more durable impact on the culture of the Maghrib than did the region’s conquerors before and after them. By the 11th century the Berbers had become Islamized and in part also Arabized.

The Berbers follows the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, most Berber tribes eventually became Muslims. … Berbers are the first non-Arab people to have established an Islamic state (Rostomid state which is actually Algeria)

What does the Amazigh flag represent?

Originally created by the Berber Academy (Agraw Imazighen) in the 70s, the flag was adopted in 1998 flag of the Berber people by the Amazigh World Congress (CMA, Agraw Amadlan Amazigh). The “ⵣ” symbol is a Tifinagh letter called “yaz” and pronounced [z].

Each colour corresponds to an aspect of Tamazgha, the territory inhabited by the Berbers in North Africa. Blue represents the sea. Green represents the Tell and the north of Tamazgha. Yellow represents the vastness of the desert.