Zaida Gania and Zaouia des Gnawa

Zaida Gania and Zaouia des Gnawa

I had tried on three previous occasions to visit Sidna Blal,  the zaouia des Gnawa,  but the formidable woman who seemed to live there steadfastly refused all my entreaties to enter.  Today I visited with this woman’s son,  Youssef,  a guimbri player training to achieve Maâlem status like his three uncles Mahmoud, Abdellah and Mokhtar Gania.  These are perhaps three of the most famous of all Maâlem from Essaouira. 

Youssef’s mother Zaida was a sister to these Maâlem;  he said there were originally 7 brothers and 2 sisters in total however  all had died except Mohktar and his mother.  He said his family had originated from slaves appropriated from Mali.

We waited for his mother at the entrance,  the local shopkeeper providing tea.  Eventually Zaida Gania arrived and putting out her hand for Youssef to kiss,  unlocked the 2 padlocks to allow entry through the heavy door and into the shrine. 

 

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Sufi Brotherhoods and Trance Ceremonies in the Maghreb

Sufi Brotherhoods and Trance Ceremonies in the Maghreb

 

Article taken from here 

Entering the Sufi Spiritual World of North Africa
Sufi Brotherhoods and Trance Ceremonies in the Maghreb

 

Zawiya in Souk Ahras in East Algeria

This zawiya is in Souk Ahras in East of Algeria, sometimes
people call the zawiya a marabout – they really mean the
saint. It happens that meals are offered to the poor
every Friday of the week, here we see in the middle of
the picture people sitting and eating bread, on the left
of the picture a man is standing, he is the caretaker.

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