THE CONVERSATION

There is a very important and necessary conversation happening about cultural appropriation; when designs are taken from another culture and used out of context in a disrespectful way.


At Mish Mish we are all about celebrating Moroccan and Amazigh culture through collaboration and partnership with the local community.


The pieces in our collections are beautiful, feminine and respectful to the culture from which they are inspired.

 
Mish Mish will never culturally appropriate; that is to say, we will never design or manufacture any piece that would be deemed offensive or disrespectful to Moroccan or Amazigh culture.


We strongly believe that it is important for us to celebrate and collaborate with other cultures as this is what creates a greater understanding and appreciation of one another.

THE AMAZIGH PEOPLE, THEIR LANGUAGE AND ALPHABET

North Africa is widely portrayed as a part of the Arab world or even associated with the Middle East, with the misconception that Arabs are indigenous to North Africa. Yet there is an extensive ‘non-Arab’ population in North Africa, who are the true indigenous people of the region.

 

They are called the Amazigh, plural Imazighen, a word which means “free people” in the indigenous Tamazight language. Among outsiders, the more common, though incorrect, name for the Imazighen is “Berber”; a term that the Imazighen reject for its negative connotations as it derives from the word ‘Barbarian’.

 

Although some may find words like Amazigh (am-a-zighr) and Tamazight (ta-ma-zyet) difficult to pronounce at first, it is far better to struggle with these words than to use a derogatory term which amounts to an ethnic slur.

 

The indigenous land of the Imazighen (i-ma-zeeren) is a region called Tamazgha, encompassing Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sahara, Mauritania, the Canary Islands and parts of Egypt, Mali and Niger.

 

Tifinagh (tiff-inagh) is the alphabet used by the Amazigh to write in Tamazight. Anthropological studies have shown that the indigenous people of North Africa created Tifinagh over two millennia ago. The oldest document found written in Tifinagh dates back to the first century BC.

 

Archaeologists have found Tifinagh letters in numerous artifacts dating back to a number of different historical periods, showing the evolution of the alphabet through time. Many researchers track the origins of Tifinagh to a variety of the Phoenician language that was spoken in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean.

 

Efforts to revive the alphabet started in the 1960s, with Amazigh activists from Algeria creating the Berber Academy in Paris in 1966. This cultural association consisted of Amazigh intellectuals, artists, and journalists who wanted Tifinagh to be an official alphabet.

 

In Morocco, Amazigh activists have also been demanding the implementation of Tifinagh on public signs and the recognition of their dialects since the last quarter of the 20th century.

 

In 2011, Morocco’s reformed constitution recognised Tamazight as an official language for the first time. Today, Tifinagh is displayed on the information signs of most public institutions in Morocco, alongside Arabic, and sometimes French.