Friday , April 28 2017

Remembering the Life and Legacy of Ali Sadki Azayku

Ali Sadki Azayku
Ali Sadki Azayku is an Amazigh poet, historian and novelist, born in 1942 in an Amazigh village near Taroudant, Morocco, that goes by the name Igran in the region of Izuyka, which gave Ali his nickname Ali Sedki Azayku“Azayku.” He attended a French school in Tafingult, south of Tizi n Test. He then joined the Pacha school and the Ecole Régionale d’Instituteurs (Regional Teacher’s College), both in Marakesh.

Claude Lefebure wrote that it was at the teacher’s college that “as if he came out of hypnosis, he suddenly felt “Amazigh.” According to Brahim Aqdim, the president of the Mohamed Kaïreddine Association, he was treated as a “dirty Arab” in the French school and as a “dirty Shluh” in the Moroccan Arabized school. Perhaps that explains his early and very passionate search for an identity.

After passing his baccalau- reate as an independent candidate, he attended the Faculty of Letters and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (The Higher Teachers College) and in 1968 he graduated with a License in history and geography. He then taught for two years (1968-70) in a high school in Ra- bat before attending the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris.

While in Paris he also attended Lionel Galand’s course on Tamazight at Langues’O. Back from Paris he started teaching at the Faculty of Letters and became an active member of the AMREC, an association devoted to the promotion of Amazigh culture.

Ali Sadki Azayku was an avid reader of history. He was interested in the true history of Tamazgha, not the one taught in Moroccan schools and which only starts at the advent of Islam. As he started to understand the true history of his land and his people, he also started to write. His writings were a key element in the identity awareness of the Moroccan Amazigh. He wrote in the newspapers and in the Amazigh magazine ran by Ouzzin Aherdane, the son of Mahdjoubi Aherdane, leader of the Peoples’ Party. It was one of his articles in this magazine titled “For a true ap- proach to our national culture” that cost him 12 months in prison and made the Moroccan authorities close the magazine for good.

Offered to re- tract his writings, Ali refused and be- came the first Amazigh activist to be thrown in prison.His stay in the Moroccan prison of Laalou helped Amazigh activists strengthen their resolve but most im- portantly, it had a great impact on the poet that he was. His poetry expressed the sorrow and hardship of life (his and that of his own people) and at the same time an immeasurable passion to live and fight. out of prison, with the help of his friends he regained his former job and continued to write about Amazigh culture .

In 1988, he published Timitar, a collection of 33 poems, followed by Izmullen in 1995 that he wrote entirely in prison. the reknown Ammouri Mbark and other Amazigh singers sang many to the board of IRCAM, where he was expected to continue his fight for the Amazigh identity.
Ali Sadki Azayku died on september 10th, 2004, and the Amazigh people and their cause lost in him one of the most respectable figures. he was 62, and he left two children, Tilila and Ziri.

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