Maghreb Noir
The Militant-Artists of North Africa and the Struggle for a Pan-African, Postcolonial Future
Paraska Tolan-Szkilnik


Contents and Abstracts
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This section introduces the readers to the Maghreb Generation, a group of men and women militant-artists who met in the Maghreb of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, and who created a subversive postcolonial Pan-African culture, one that transcended race, nation, and language. After introducing readers to the political and artistic philosophies of the Maghreb Generation, I present some of the sources the book engages with, as many are not located in traditional archives.

Chapter 1: Revolt Respects No Borders: Luso-African Revolutionaries in Rabat
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Using sources from the French Diplomatic Archives in Nantes and the offices of the Conference of Nationalist Organization of the Portuguese Colonies (CONCP), with testimonies from leaders of the Luso-African movements based in Rabat, this chapter unveils Morocco's forgotten role in the colonial and postcolonial struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. Rabat attracted dozens of militants from Portugal's colonies in Africa—including Angolan Mario Pinto de Andrade, Mozambican Marcelino dos Santos, Cape Verdean Amilcar Cabral, and Goan Aquino de Bragança. This chapter retraces their relationship to the Moroccan government and their efforts to create a transnational militant community based in Rabat.

Chapter 2: A Continent in Its Totality: Moroccan Literary Journal Souffles Turns to Angola
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This chapter traces the influence of intellectuals and militants from the Lusophone world, chief amongst them Mario de Andrade, Amilcar Cabral, Marcelino dos Santos, Agostinho Neto, and Aquino de Bragança on the Moroccan literary journal Souffles. In March 1966, in Rabat, a group of Moroccan poets and artists discontent with the possibilities that the Moroccan artistic institutions had to offer, started to print a thousand copies of their magazine, a 30-some page pamphlet with very limited distribution. The journal, entitled Souffles, was filled with audacious poetry, manifestos, and thought pieces. Souffles gradually took off from a small Moroccan literary journal to a paper caucus through which writers from across the African continent created a dissenting Pan-Africanism.

Chapter 3: Poetry on All Fronts: Jean Sénac's Fight for Algeria's Airwaves
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This chapter is about the Off-PANAF, the events that occurred outside the purview of the Algerian state between members of the Maghreb Generation, during the 1969 Pan-African Festival of Algiers. The chief coordinator of the Off-PANAF was Algerian poet Jean Sénac, who does not figure in any of the articles or official documentation published by the Algerian government around the PANAF. This chapter reconstructs the voyages of the Maghreb Generation to Algiers in the summer of 1969, as filtered through Sénac's relationships to the militant-poets.

Chapter 4: Nothing to Fear from the Poet: Hooking up at the Pan-African Festival of Algiers
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Focusing on encounters that happened in and around Algiers in the summer of 1969, this chapter demonstrates that, though members of the Maghreb Generation labored to surpass racism, racial stereotypes surfaced nevertheless, particularly when it came to the question of women. Indeed, the Maghreb Generation's culture was a masculine one—a culture in which women were only invited to participate as sexual objects or as avatars of their nation, their land, or their race. Through a series of testimonies by Black American beat-poet Ted Joans, Haitian poet René Depestre, Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver, Ivory-Coast actor Bitty Moro, and a number of Algerian participants, this chapter untangles the many deeply entrenched stereotypes at play between members of the Maghreb Generation.

Chapter 5: The Red in Red-Carpet: The Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage
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Through interviews with the Carthage Film Festival (JCC) participants and administrators, JCC pamphlets, press coverage, and personal correspondence, this last chapter reveals the lesser-known story of the JCC as the final home to the Maghreb Generation in the mid-1970s. The chapter examines why members of the Maghreb Generation, such as Mario de Andrade, Med Hondo, Sarah Maldoror, and Ousmane Sembène, turned away from literature and poetry and towards film in their struggle for postcolonial freedom. The chapter then traces the JCC's evolution from its beginnings under the aegis of the Tunisian state, to its radicalization—the result of both internal political movements and the effect of radical militant-artists from Africa and the Diaspora.

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The conclusion briefly reprises the book's central arguments and suggests how work on the Maghreb Generation can help scholars transcend linguistic, national, and racial divisions in the study of Africa and that of global postcolonialism, and, instead, explore the ways in which movement have always evaded the too-easy appeal of restrictive categories. The conclusion also emphasizes how important it is for scholars to tell the stories of the men and women of the Maghreb Generation, for the archive is disappearing, and contemporary African governments are using what is left of this history for specific political goals.