Berbers and their traditions endure in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains



IMILCHIL, MOROCCO // Deep in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, the ancient Berbers live on, defying a harsh environment, and remaining loyal to their traditions and way of life in some of the most hard-to-reach parts of the African continent.

Indomitable and proud, they call themselves the Amazigh, which is believed to mean “free people” or “noble men,” and trace their origins as an indigenous people in western North Africa to at least 10,000BC

They dislike the term Berbers, which stems from Latin and which they find insulting. They are among the many peoples the Romans called Barbarians, but they became the stuff of legend, giving the world famous names such as the medieval explorer Ibn Battuta, who travelled further in distance than Marco Polo.

Their home is the majestic Atlas, the largest mountain range in Africa. Amazigh villages are scattered across arid desert landscapes with burnt-orange rock, occasionally dotted with lush green slopes and surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

Across North Africa, the Berbers number about 50 million. At least 15 million Moroccans are Amazigh, divided into different groups according to their dialects. While they speak the native Amazigh language of Tamazight, which has a numerous dialects and recently gained recognition as an official language in Morocco, many have adopted Arabic as part of a long process of Arabisation and Islamisation.

Today, they rely on cattle and agriculture as their main sources of income, and maintain a nomadic lifestyle closely resembling their ancestors. Some live in clay houses with no electricity or running water, while a few still dwell with their sheep and goats in remote mountain caves. Others live closer to the towns at the Atlas foothills, benefiting from modern amenities.

For much of the year, they face extreme weather conditions. The mountains are covered in snow in winter. In summer, the sun scorches what little crops they grow. When the streams empty during the dry season, the community bands together to dig underground water wells for irrigation.

Many Amazigh own mountain donkeys, often the only mode of transport across the rocky, unpaved roads that connect Berber villages.

That isolation has dashed 26-year-old Mohammed Tamejout’s hopes of finding a job away from home. He studied geography at the university in the Atlas city of Ouarzazate, expecting the degree would lead to a job. But three years after graduating, he remains unemployed and works on his family’s farm in Imilchil, surrounded by almond trees.

When the trees bloom, the farm becomes a sea of cotton-white almond blossoms amid green pastures. Mohammed says the idyllic scene doesn’t touch him.

“There’s no future for me here. If I don’t move to the city, I’ll remain a farmer for the rest of my life,” he said.

Follow Mosa’ab Elshamy at @mosaaberizing

RESULTS

Bantamweight: Jalal Al Daaja (JOR) beat Hamza Bougamza (MAR)

Catchweight 67kg: Mohamed El Mesbahi (MAR) beat Fouad Mesdari (ALG)

Lightweight: Abdullah Mohammed Ali (UAE) beat Abdelhak Amhidra (MAR)

Catchweight 73kg: Mosatafa Ibrahim Radi (PAL) beat Yazid Chouchane (ALG)

Middleweight: Yousri Belgaroui (TUN) beat Badreddine Diani (MAR)

Catchweight 78KG: Rashed Dawood (UAE) beat Adnan Bushashy (ALG)

Middleweight: Sallah-Eddine Dekhissi (MAR) beat Abdel Enam (EGY)

Catchweight 65kg: Yanis Ghemmouri (ALG) beat Rachid Hazoume (MAR)

Lightweight: Mohammed Yahya (UAE) beat Azouz Anwar (EGY)

Catchweight 79kg: Souhil Tahiri (ALG) beat Omar Hussein (PAL)

Middleweight: Tarek Suleiman (SYR) beat Laid Zerhouni (ALG)

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Ponti

Sharlene Teo, Pan Macmillan

Brief scores:

Toss: Northern Warriors, elected to field first

Bengal Tigers 130-1 (10 ov)

Roy 60 not out, Rutherford 47 not out

Northern Warriors 94-7 (10 ov)

Simmons 44; Yamin 4-4

All about the Sevens

Cape Town Sevens on Saturday and Sunday: Pools A – South Africa, Kenya, France, Russia; B – New Zealand, Australia, Spain, United States; C – England, Scotland, Argentina, Uganda; D – Fiji, Samoa, Canada, Wales

HSBC World Sevens Series standing after first leg in Dubai 1 South Africa; 2 New Zealand; 3 England; 4 Fiji; 5 Australia; 6 Samoa; 7 Kenya; 8 Scotland; 9 France; 10 Spain; 11 Argentina; 12 Canada; 13 Wales; 14 Uganda; 15 United States; 16 Russia

The specs: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ

Price, base: Dh1,731,672

Engine: 6.5-litre V12

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 770hp @ 8,500rpm

Torque: 720Nm @ 6,750rpm

Fuel economy: 19.6L / 100km

TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

The specs: 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

Price, base / as tested Dh57,000

Engine 1,170cc air/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke engine

Transmission Six-speed gearbox

Power 110hp) @ 7,750rpm

Torque 116Nm @ 6,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 5.3L / 100km

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Telr
Based: Dubai, UAE
Launch year: 2014
Number of employees: 65
Sector: FinTech and payments
Funding: nearly $30 million so far

If you go

  • The nearest international airport to the start of the Chuysky Trakt is in Novosibirsk. Emirates (www.emirates.com) offer codeshare flights with S7 Airlines (www.s7.ru) via Moscow for US$5,300 (Dh19,467) return including taxes. Cheaper flights are available on Flydubai and Air Astana or Aeroflot combination, flying via Astana in Kazakhstan or Moscow. Economy class tickets are available for US$650 (Dh2,400).
  • The Double Tree by Hilton in Novosibirsk (+7 383 2230100,) has double rooms from US$60 (Dh220). You can rent cabins at camp grounds or rooms in guesthouses in the towns for around US$25 (Dh90).
  • The transport Minibuses run along the Chuysky Trakt but if you want to stop for sightseeing, hire a taxi from Gorno-Altaisk for about US$100 (Dh360) a day. Take a Russian phrasebook or download a translation app. Tour companies such as Altair-Tour (+7 383 2125115 ) offer hiking and adventure packages.
Brief scoreline:

Liverpool 5

Keita 1', Mane 23', 66', Salah 45'+1, 83'

Huddersfield 0

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

THE BIO

Occupation: Specialised chief medical laboratory technologist

Age: 78

Favourite destination: Always Al Ain “Dar Al Zain”

Hobbies: his work  - “ the thing which I am most passionate for and which occupied all my time in the morning and evening from 1963 to 2019”

Other hobbies: football

Favorite football club: Al Ain Sports Club

 

Electric scooters: some rules to remember
  • Riders must be 14-years-old or over
  • Wear a protective helmet
  • Park the electric scooter in designated parking lots (if any)
  • Do not leave electric scooter in locations that obstruct traffic or pedestrians
  • Solo riders only, no passengers allowed
  • Do not drive outside designated lanes
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

TOP 10 MOST POLLUTED CITIES

1. Bhiwadi, India
2. Ghaziabad, India
3. Hotan, China
4. Delhi, India
5. Jaunpur, India
6. Faisalabad, Pakistan
7. Noida, India
8. Bahawalpur, Pakistan
9. Peshawar, Pakistan
10. Bagpat, India

Source: IQAir

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.

Elvis

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Stars: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge

Rating: 4/5