The North African Amazigh culture has recently seen a significant step from an oral literary heritage to a written literature. But a lot of difficulties are still to be overcome in order to preserve the language and the cultural heritage in North Africa.
The publisher of Noufel’s book, Tira Editions and, as their head, the writer and activist Brahim Tazaghart, is a dynamic publishing house. Beyond state censorship and other obstacles, there is both militancy and love. Love and militancy for a millennium culture, for an excluded identity (Berber) and for literature and writing, as the very word Tira (Writing) expresses it.
In the foreword, literature lecturer at the University of Bouira, Amar Laoufi, writes:
What adds beauty to Noufel’s writing is his mix between what he has learnt from our oral literary traditions with new ideas from the world of international literature. Noufel’s book is worth reading, because it’s another stone for the construction of the short story genre in Kabyle language.
I read his poetry before he published his first collections to be read and criticized. His knowledge of new languages and his contact with other cultures has surely enriched his writing experience.
The title Ahya ssimra! (Damn it all!) emphasizes the book’s content. The book is the call of a young man, a man who loves his country and shouts from his exile to say no to all the miseries and injustices that his countrymen are undergoing. It is the call of a young man, like his countrymen, who has lived for years in a country where corruptions, extremisms and alienation has been and still are set as laws. The choice of the title is also tribute to the Kabyle’s theater pillar: Mohya.
The books contains 8 stories presented as fragments of ordinary men’s lives seen as crazy and marginal - but are in truth witty and ironic.
• A vagabond challenging the police and the whole district, shouting at people and daring them;
• An old man writing to his son remembering with nostalgia the old times, telling him sincerely and affectionately his love;
• A fishmonger with an adolescent worker walking behind a cart, singing and trying to trick his clients;
• A man, whilst citing erotic poems, dwells from one trash to another looking for plastic to sell it and sustain his family;
• An old man feeding some pigeons between a cathedral and a mosque and having a nice moment with his friend, a musician with whom he sings;
• An old man going to a mosque to pray and, on his way, pisses, as every day, on the tomb of the great One who was the country’s dictator, delivering his thoughts about religion, life, criticizing extremism and injustice, mocking the neo great One;
• An old man visiting his wife’s shadow appearing on her tomb, they talk, they make jokes and laugh together.
About Noufel Bouzeboudja
Noufel Bouzeboudja is an Amazigh writer, performer, and journalist from Algeria. He has been an English teacher and director of several Shakespeare productions. He writes in Arabic, Kabyle, English and French and his novels have been critically acclaimed. From 2011, Noufel has been a guest writer on Fanoe City of Refuge.
For more information on Noufel and his works, visit his blog.