Street Art: The Urban Canvas of Morocco

By Emily Vega, Photography by Anna Bongardino

RABAT, Morocco — Jammed between a blank wall and a rushing train headed to Casablanca, Zakaria Essadiki, 22, uses his ten seconds of concealment to spray paint his graffiti name: ZED. Unseen and unscathed, he leaves behind his mark and continues around his city reclaiming walls.

Essadiki is a part of a growing community of young Moroccans participating in the urban alternative culture of street art. Although street art has been a thriving genre around the world for over half a century, it has just begun its debut across Morocco.

Read more

Three Generations Find Pride and Opportunity in Family Leather Business

by Emily Vega

RABAT, Morocco – Ayoub El Khalifi stands against a wall covered in his family’s handmade traditional leather goods. He wears a black felt fedora hat. Every square inch behind him displays polished and hand crafted leather bags, cushions, belts and more. As customers explore the store, the smell of tanned leather follows them. Hanging from the ceilings and lining the walls, hundreds of designs are displayed.

This traditional craft has provided the El Khalifi family with an escape from a troubled region and livelihood in a country where many young people struggle to find jobs.

Read more

DJ Sim H: Finding Freedom in Rap

By Najah Mateen

CASABLANCA, Morocco – When Simo Sguiry was a child, he and his younger brother would listen to American artists from their father’s tape collection. “I grew up with Michael Jackson,” Simo says.

Since then, his musical tastes have changed a lot. A Casablanca native, Simo is now a DJ, and the Moroccan music industry knows him as DJ Sim H.

Like Simo, Moroccans have embraced hip-hop culture while managing to put their own cultural twist on something that was once uniquely American. This is evident in the current generation of Moroccan rappers, who rap in Arabic, Darija, and French.

Read more

Ahead of the Pack: Ahmed Tazi runs Rabat’s only animal rescue

By Molly Keisman

RABAT, Morocco— Ahmed Tazi can’t take one step without a horde of adoring dogs following his every move. He couldn’t be happier.

Tazi, 33, has been president of the Association de Défense des Animaux et de la Nature (ADAN) for three years. In a country with an abundance of strays but an absence of mainstream concern for animal welfare, the importance of Tazi’s work cannot be overstated. In Rabat, ADAN stands alone—the city’s sole animal rescue.

Within Rabat, ADAN has two locations—one for cats and one for dogs.

Read more