La Gazelle - Page 62

actu news “ culture I culture I ‫ثقــافـة‬ New Tunisian pleasures, by Sicca Venier The Gordian knot My great-grandmother was forced to emigrate, all by herself, outside of her homeland, Calabria : we don’t know for sure if her husband, in conflict with the law, had run off to the mountains or if he was serving his sentence in prison - this stayed one of those family secrets no one speaks about, thanks to the taboos. But it took a great deal more to demolish this woman’s spirit, who was used to cope with life’s challenges of all sorts and overcome them with resignation, persistence and the fundamental optimism of « nature » people with simple minds (in a good way). Also, in order to provide for her two young children, she became by necessity canteen manageress for the Zouaves of the African army. Before that, she was just a hillbilly. My grand-mother - her daughter, only a few months old - was still in swaddling clothes, when her mom carried her behind the cartage that had crossed the Algerian-Tunisian border : this authentic « Anabase » marked the beginning of the French occupation at the end of which the Protectorate (1881-1956) was in place. In short, let’s leave the history with a capital H to come back to this brave woman who, as soon as she arrived in the Kef, decided to settle down in a large market town, near the border, exchanging her mobile canteen for a restaurant that would finally give her a permanent basis. Her older son, a strong teenager, was now able to help her with the sometimes dangerous work. She had to keep the pot boiling ; hesitating or trying to find elsewhere a hazardous adventure were not options. It is only natural that a strong garrison of Zouaves established barracks in the Kasbah of the Kef, built by the Turks with large blocks of cobbletsones, dating back to Roman times. ” A good and significant customer base for the new innkeeper. 1. Fortification de la Kasbah datant de la période ottomane I The Kasbah’s fortification dating back to the ottoman period I ‫تحصينات القصبة التي تعود إىل‬ I ‫العهد العثامين‬ 2. Intérieur de la basilique romaine I The interior of the Roman Basilica I I ‫صورة من داخل كنيسة الروم‬ 1 La Gazelle 56 I 64 t he Kef, mixed by occupations and cultures, Numidia’s capital during a long period of time under the leadership of Massinissa, king of Massyles, is taken by the Romans in 46 BC and adopts the name Africa Nova. The city, very prospere in the 2nd and 3rd century becomes a bishopric around 256 and maintains its religious role for a long time. City of the “Haut Tell” We walk up the Kef’s streets to reach to fortified Kasbah, surrounded by a curtain wall now disappeared, which was the heart of a defense system including the medina.The citadel got its current form at the beginning of the 19th century under the leadership of Hamouda Bacha, determined to free the place from Alger’s supervision. We keep walking toward the Roman Basilic beneath the citadel. A cobblestone block, composed of an atrium and a cruciform room covered by a unique herringbone vault. Proportions that would be the envy of connoisseurs. It feels good to live in the Kef, we sit down at the Sidi Bou Makhlouf café for a sunbath, Najet El Saghira on the radio and the lively conversations of a group of young friends. There is a Kef pride. Proud of the millenia-long history of this city built along a hillside. A man indicates Bourguiba’s old palace. A luxurious garden, also residence of the current governor, where Bourguiba gave a speech in December 1962. « After getting rid of the foreign domination and the beylical regime, his main concern is to work, by all