Mouloud Feraoun (1913–1962). A prominent Amazigh writer from Kabyle whose real name is Aït Chaabane Mouloud Feraoun. Born on March 8th, 1913 in Tizi Hibel in Greater Kabylia. Although he was born to a poor peasant family, he managed to get through the French school system and to earn a diploma at the Bouzaréah School (Teacher’s College) in Algiers. After graduation, he returned to his native village as an elementary school teacher and married his cousin.
In 1947, he was assigned in Taourirt Moussa and became a school principal in 1952. Feraoun was one of the most prolific francophone writers of his generation. His works all describe Kabyle peasant life. Le Fils du pauvre (1950; “The Poor Man’s Son”) is a semiautobiographical story of a Berber youth struggling against poverty and hardship to achieve an education and self-advancement. The portrayal of the simple life in the mountains is filled with nobility, human compassion, and a love of family and native soil. La Terre et le sang (1953; “Earth and Blood”) deals with an émigré whose life in France is burdened by the sequestration of his proud countrymen and with the importance of nif (“honour”), the basis of all traditional morality and the source of the sense of self-worth, dignity, pride, and community. Les Chemins qui montent (1957; “The Upward Roads”) carries forward in more bitter tones the themes of the resignation, resistance, and endurance of the fellah (peasant) faced with the realities of colonial society; it also deals with the strictures placed on the youth and the narrowness of choices available to them. Feraoun’s devotion to Kabyle culture is also evident in a collection of portraits and sketches, in a translation of 19th-century Kabyle poetry, and in his journal. Through his works he achieved his goal of discovering the voice of “an indomitable people of flesh and blood.”
On 15 March 1962, Feraoun as well as five of his colleagues were assassinated by a commando of the Organisation armée secrète (OAS), an extremist organization of the French settlers in Algeria.