The halfa is millennial, beautiful, solid, demanding and is not easily given. This job requires endurance, patience, savoir-faire and is transmitted from one generation to another one. It is named as the job of women and is considered as one of the main sources of earning in North West of Tunisia. But, it is still practised in spartan conditions and job opportunities in the handmade field are decreasing. This,in fact,at a short or a long term; may discourage the coming generations.
Hirfa Association in collaboration with Le Fonds Emploi de la Giz established a training and product development workshop in Kasserine region in order to preserve the notion of savoir-faire and transmit it to young generations. In the same context, the association organised ,the last spring, the first vegetal fiber festival in Djerba.
This festival aims at rehabilitating, valorising and promoting for the vegetal fiber in general and the fiber of Halfa in particular. During this event, we inaugurated the first point of sale to support the handicrafts production and to introduce all these anonymous artisans of El Oussaia, Garat Agueb in Kasserine. In the central place of Hara Esseghira, dozens of stalls of handicrafts production, most of them were closed for thirty years,were graciously brought to the festival by their owner, Dar Eddhiafa. We paid homage to their original founders by putting their names on the pediments and we invited artisans, from all over the country, specialized in vegetal fiber and knowledgeable about the regional techniques: halfa, Saaf, arjoun…
We invested places like Ghannouch, Ouassaia, Hergla, Gabés, Jerba , Tozeur, Kairouan and Kerkennah to show their savoir-faire but we have ,also, left room for the testimonies of the past and a superb collection of old “Tbags” could, thus, be presented.
Thanks to the support of the convinced sponsors, Opalia Recordati, Digheti and the Associations des Amis of la Médina de Hara Seghira; the atmosphere was joyful and friendly.
Choachens, Jaweher Midoun, the gogous Tablet Khazroun, the amazighs of Lazhar Ben Ouiran and the contested star of the island,Mahmoud Tanich, paced the days of the festival, led tastings of local cuisine and prolonged late parties.
This festival, in comparison to other festivals, is just special and will be planned every year for the sake of Halfa and handicrafts persistence . We promise you !
This article is taken from "La déco" : TRIMESTRIEL N 25/JUIN 2015 written by ALYA Hamza.
Translated from French to English by Maroua Mejri.