The Amazigh tribes of the High-Atlas

We are in 2963 AD. according to the Amazigh calendar or more known under the name of Berber, people who claims a presence of 5000 years in the Maghreb. Brave warriors of mountains, they knew how to resist successfully against Roman,Arabic invasion and the central power of the Moroccan sultans. They had an important role in the fight against the French and Spanish colonization. Today, sixty percent of the Moroccans people are Berber. Scattered almost everywhere in the country, a big part still live in the mountains of the Moroccan High Atlas. A very rough life for these isolated villagers particularly during the winter periods.

In the valley of Zat, a still virgin Land without tourism where the Berber villages embeded in the rock draw the landscape. From Tighdouine and after three hours of jeep loaded with ten persons, provisioning in fruits, vegetables, fertilizer, and all kind of suitcases, we arrive in the village of Ansa. There, with Omar my Berber guide we join Anamén, the last and higher village of the valley. The leader of the village is a friend of Omar, he gives us then a place to sleep in his house. It is very difficult to photograph the villagers and particularly the women so it’s with the agreement of Ali, the village leader that I was able to photograph the Berber in the mountains.

The women and the children are in the village and the plantations but the men are just a few, for most of them they went to work in the big cities during several months to bring some money back home. Because in these isolated zones, the economic life is non-existent. However, they develop a bit the agriculture of healing plants, wheat and collect walnuts in October. All these tasks are mainly achieved by the women who bravely and in spite of their advanced age continue to cary heavy loads on their back while they’re climbing the village-mountain. The few men left in the village are approximately 50 years old and it belongs to their children to leave for cities and work to help the family. The villages from the Zat Valley are frozen in time and even if they just got electricity for only 4  years, the villages kept their  authenticity.

20th August 1994, king Hassan II takes the decision to have restore the Berber language to the primary school. This law opens the way to a turning point of history towards the Berber community, among which the culture, the identity and the rights were despised for a long time. Everywhere, associations spread, the claiming becomes clearer and many people don’t hesitate to speak about a real Berber revival.