Mohammed Chafik: The Spiritual Father of “Tamzgha”

The Moroccan Amazighs consider Mohamed Chafik as their spiritual father. A leading Amazigh writer, researcher, historian, activist and intellectual, he is one of the founders of the Amazigh cultural movement. He was born on September 17, 1926 in Bir Tam-Tam in the Sefrou region. He preferred to fight for Amazighity through words, far from politics, just as he always defended Moroccan identity, through its two confluences, Amazigh and Arab, occupying a prominent place among the representatives of these two confluences.

Mohammed Chafik began his education in the schools of the French Protectorate before joining the famous Azrou college and then the Moulay Youssef high school in Rabat, from where he was expelled for taking part in student demonstrations against the colonizer. He will also be prevented from exercising any professional activity as a form punishment for having joined the ranks of the resistance and the national movement. But Chafik will find a way to get around the ban and continue his studies, thanks to the help of his former teacher at the Azrou college, who will give him a teaching position and allow him to learn Arabic and Amazigh, before becoming inspector and then Secretary of State at the Ministry of National Education, then policy officer in the Royal Cabinet, then Director of the Royal College, the establishment where His Majesty King Mohamed VI attended school, along with the rest of the members of the royal family.

In 1980, the late HM King Hassan II appointed him a member of the Academy of Morocco, after having worked as an adviser to him. Subsequently, he was appointed Dean of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture from 2001 to 2003.

Mohammed Chafik is also one of the founders of the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights and a member of the Advisory Council for Human Rights.

Chafik was behind the Amazigh Manifesto, which was signed by a number of personalities belonging to the Amazigh elite and presented to HM King Mohammed VI. The manifesto calls for the reconsideration of the Amazigh identity, culture and language, the generalization of its teaching and constitutional equality between it and the Arabic language.

His relatives describe him as a modest, calm and discreet man. He does not like being in the spotlight, preferring intellectual isolation.

Mohammed Chafik is the author of numerous books and publications, among which overview of 33 centuries of Amazigh history, 44 lessons of the Amazigh language, The Moroccan dialect, crossroads between Amazigh and Arabic, and The Amazigh Arabic dictionary, published in 3 volumes and having taken 27 years of work. He also founded several magazines such as Tifaout, Amazigh and Tifinagh.

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