Sub-Saharan African migrants in Morocco find hope in art and performance

By Robert Dozier

RABAT, Morocco – Jackie Zappa, is an artist from the Ivory Coast — one of an estimated 30 thousand migrants from Sub Saharan Africa. A painter and sculptor, Zappa says he lived in Tunisia and Algeria but his art was not appreciated in those countries.  Communities of migrant artists, musicians and performers are flourishing in Rabat and Casablanca.

“Morocco is the only place in Africa where I can improve my talent,” said Zappa.

Last year alone, more than one million people migrated to Europe, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, according to the International Organization for Migration. 

Read more

Snoopy, A Graduate From Morocco’s Only Circus School

By VICTOR MASSARI

RABAT, Morocco – A tall man clutching a handbag filled with gold fractures of an old brass instrument enters downtown Rabat. His shaggy curls cascade from the back of his baseball cap as he reaches into his bag to pull out metal rings, a voice-looping machine, an iPad, an amplifer, and an endless line of cables. This is Rabat’s own local street performer, Badr “Snoopy” Houtar, 27.

“My mother always said I give life to objects,” said Houtar. “Where some people see just a plastic bag, I see a world of fun.”

Houtar, 27, stopped pursuing a degree in architecture four years ago to enroll in the only circus school in all of Morocco.

Read more