5 Moroccan Cultures That Showcase The Developing Melting Pot Of Africa

5 Moroccan Cultures That Showcase The Developing Melting Pot Of Africa

Diversity in Africa

There are 54 culturally diverse nation-states on the African continent, yet many Americans tend to perceive Africa as culturally and ethnically homogeneous. However, scientific research has demonstrated that there is more genetic diversity within Africa than between Eurasia and Africa itself. One prime example of the diversity of Africa can be found in the Northern country of Morocco, a nation that many consider the melting pot of the African continent. All of the cultures described below have rich histories that can be traced back to ancient times, and each are treasured, celebrated parts of a greater Moroccan culture. Here are six of those Moroccan cultures today.


Sanhaja Berber Women

Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Berber people, also known as the Amazigh (meaning proud raiders), were the first inhabitants of North Africa and are the indigenous people of Morocco. They fought against Roman, Arab and French invaders and have an long, rich history.

Today most Berber live in the South of Morocco, represent more than half of the Moroccan population and speak different yet similar languages depending on their location. These languages include Tarifit in the Rif of northern Morocco, Tamazight in the Middle Atlas region and Tashelheet from the High Atlas and Souss region.

The Berber people are known for their folkloric music, jewelry, tattoos and beautiful poetry.


Arab invaders conquered Morocco in the late seventh century and spread Islamic culture to the Berber natives. Despite the fact that most Arabs live in the northern regions of Morocco, Arab culture can be seen across the nation. Not only is Arabic the first language of Morocco and the ethnicity of the nation's leaders, but the religion of Islam, brought to Morocco by the Arabs, is followed by over 99 percent of Moroccans today.

The national dish of Morocco is couscous, which though mostly associated with Arab tradition is a common dish across the Maghreb. Classic Arab dress has become traditional Moroccan garb, consisting of caftans, djellabas and more.


Map French and Spanish presence in Morocco in 1912


During the 300 years of Roman occupation that ended late in the third century, Roman territory and influence extended to just north of Rabat, the present day capital of Morocco. The northern tip of Morocco known to the Romans as Mauretania Tingitana, present day Tangier, exported olive oil and wheat to Rome, and was the home to many Berber who had become Christian. However, today the population of Christians in Morocco is very small and anyone trying to convert Moroccans to Christianity can be punished by law.

Morocco, like every other African country, did not escape contemporary European colonization that began as early as the 15th century on the coasts of Africa and India. By the 19th century, Spain and France were the two major European powers that occupied Morocco and had the most recent impact on the nation's culture. The French protectorate controlled most of the country until 1956 when Morocco became independent, and soon thereafter regained most of the territory from Spain.

Although the country's first language is Arabic, about 85 percent of the population frequently uses Darija (the colloquial language) which has integrated French and Spanish words and phrases. Andalusian cultural influences can be seen in the ruins of 11th century mosques and architecture in the northern cities such as Fez, though the Spanish Protectorate controlled only about 1/10 of the country.


A Gnawa Festival


The Gnawa people are an ethnic group originally from the northern region of West and Central Africa known as the Sahelian region. With pre-Islamic African spiritual traditions, the Gnawa eventually adopted the Sufi order, a mystical spiritual version of Islam that focuses on peace and love and looking within. The famous 13th century Sunni Muslim Persian poet, popularly known as Rumi, Persian Sunni Muslim poet, as well as scholar of Islam and a jurist, founded the mystic Sufi order of Islam. The Gnawa people mix pre-Islamic African traditions with classical Islamic Sufism.

Gnawa music has attracted leading musicians from around the world, including Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin lead singer, for example.

The music is often accompanied by rituals with a specific purpose to connect with the spiritual world in order to heal. When Gnawa music began attracting droves of tourists, the Moroccan government publicized it on a government website and in 1998 launched the Gnawa music festival in the southern city of Essaouira.


A Fountain at the Temple Beth-El in Casablanca


The roots of the Jewish population in Morocco can be traced to four diasporas that took refuge in the country over a period spanning many centuries. While the faith has many unique traditions, ever since the fourth wave of Jewish immigration to Morocco, many aspects of their culture have meshed together with that of the Moroccan land they inhabited. The Moroccan city of Casablanca maintains the largest Jewish community along with the only Jewish museum in the Arab world.

Today Morocco's Jewish population numbers are small, yet many are optimistic about the future revival of the community and live in peace with Moroccan Muslims. The country is experiencing growth in Jewish-heritage tourism.

During Shabbat Jews in Morocco traditionally enjoyed a meal of wheat, meat and dried peas. Possibly the original slow-cooked meal, this Moroccan stew was prepared by cooking these ingredients slowly overnight at a low temperature. The name of the dish, known as dafina, refers to it being covered or smothered. Interested in the recipe? Click here!

Popular Right Now

The 10 Stages Of A 2:30 P.M. Kickoff, As Told By Alabama Students

But we still say Roll MF Tide!


We all have a love-hate relationship with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant Denny Stadium, especially when it's 94 degrees.

1. Immediate sadness


What do you mean I have to wake up at 9 a.m. to get ready?

2. Bracing yourself for the worst


It's a marathon not a sprint ladies and gentleman.

3. Accepting the game is going to happen


Rain or shine we are all in that student section screaming our heads off.

4. Trying to wear the least amount clothes possible without being naked on the Quad


Is it me or does it get 10 times more hot the minute you walk on to the quad?

5. Shedding a tear when you walk out your front door once you feel the heat and humidity on your skin


Is it fall yet?

6. Drowning your sorrows inside a Red Solo cup at 11:30 a.m. at a fraternity tailgate


Maybe I'll forget about the humidity if I start frat hopping now.

7. Getting in line to go through security realizing it'll take an hour to actually get inside Bryant Denny


More security is great and all but remember the heat index in Alabama? Yeah, it's not easy being smushed like sardines before even getting into Bryant Denny.

8. Feeling the sweat roll down every part of your body


Oh yeah I am working on my tan and all but what is the point of showering before kick off?

9. Attempting to cheer on the Tide, but being whacked in the head with a shaker by the girl behind you. 


Shakers are tradition, but do we have to spin it around in a full 360 every two seconds? I have a migraine from just thinking about it.

10. Leaving a quarter into the game because Alabama is kicking ass and you're about to have a heat stroke.


I'll watch the rest in air conditioning thank you very much!

We may not love the 2:30 kickoffs but Roll Tide!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I Made Emma Chamberlain's Mediocre Vegan Cookies, And They're Pretty Incredible

Emma and her vegan cookies have made their way into my heart, and are here to stay.


One day, I went down the black hole that is 'YouTube at 3 am' and discovered my favorite social media influencer of all time: Emma Chamberlain. I started binge watching her videos every night for about a week, where I came across her "Cooking With Emma" series. I decided that I wanted to give her vegan antics a go for myself.

I've never cooked or baked anything with the intention of it being vegan, so not only is that new territory for me, but I've never even eaten a vegan cookie. The only reason I'm doing this is because Emma did, and she is aesthetic goals.

To start the journey of vegan baking, I took to Pinterest, just like Emma, and found this recipe to use. Although the video that inspired all of this used a gluten free recipe, I opted for only vegan, because I'm allergic to most of the ingredients that make things gluten-free.

In true Emma style, I used a whisk to combine the wet ingredients together, making sure to use her special technique.

Then, I did the same thing with the dry ingredients.

After that, I dumped everything together and combined all of the ingredients.

Once they were combined, I chopped up a vegan chocolate bar, because Emma and I like chocolate chunk cookies, not chocolate chip, there's a difference.

Now that everything is combined, I made balls of dough and stuck it on a pan, and baked them while I binged more Emma, because what else would I be doing in my spare time?

The recipe said to make the balls a lot smaller, but we aren't perfect, so I made them gigantic. In my head, I thought the worst thing that could happen was it turn into one big cookie, but that's a whole other video you need to watch.

I took them out of the oven, and they were brown on the top, but still a little doughy. At this point I was tired of waiting and eager to eat them, so I disappointingly set them aside to cool, which only lasted a minute or so before I snagged one up to try.

The taste was definitely one I've never associated with cookies, and came to the conclusion that if I decided to go vegan, it would be doable with these cookies and Emma Chamberlain by my side.

Emma inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, which is a reoccurring theme throughout her channel, and I'm happy to be apart of it. She taught me that even if mediocre cookies is all you have, eat them with pride because you made them yourself.

Related Content

Facebook Comments