ASSILAH - The northern Moroccan city of Assilah awarded its citizens’ achievements in various fields, including education, fishing and environment as part of the activities of the Assilah International Cultural Moussem.
Mohamed Benaissa, Secretary General of the Assilah Forum Foundation and mayor of Assilah, said that this year’s Moussem was special after he announced last year that we was not sure if the festival would carry on due to the limited financial means.
“The patronage of King Mohammed VI as well as his affection for the festival helped us carry on,” said Benaissa.
King Mohammed VI inaugurated the first edition of the Moussem when he was 15 years old.
“This year has witnessed an amazing African week… We have always cared for Africa as our king visited 40 countries in the continent in two years, which is a precedent,” said former Moroccan Foreign Minister.
Benaissa said that the Moussem decided to launch next year an award of African musicians whether they are in African or living overseas.
“Assilah should be proud of hosting an array of thinkers, intellectuals, writers and politicians. In 1978-70 Assilah was the first city in the world to start dialogue of cultures and civilisations,” he said. 14 41
The Moussem honoured artist Moussa Zakani for his restless contribution to the artistic scene.
Zakani took part in the first edition of the Moussem in 1978 with sculptures on medina wall that are still there.
“To be honest, I was surprised and moved because I didn’t expect it. I came back to Assilah take part in wall paintings,” Zakani told Middle East Online.
“Nobody has ever thought of honouring me until Assilah did so,” said Zakani.
“We need more art schools apart from the existing ones in Tetouan and Casablanca. The youth need more art infrastructure where they can unleash their talent,” he added.
The Moussem also held a children’s art workshop throughout the whole festival.
Kaoutar Chirgui, the supervisor of the workshop said that almost 200 children aged between 4 and 16 years old from Assilah and other cities took part in the event.
Four-year-old Adam Jebari made his first painting that was hanging on a tall board among other children’s paintings.
“My painting is an orange triangle,” Adam said shyly.
Saad Guerraoui, Ph.D, is the Editor-In-Chief of Middle East Online