Tunisia- The last prayer beads craftsman in Tunisia struggles to preserve his craft

103

Location: Tunis – Tunisia

Language: Arabic

Voice: Natural

Duration: 00:04:36

Source: A24

Restrictions: A24 Clients

Dateline: 23-01-2022

Storyline

Over centuries, the industry of prayer beads flourished in the Maghreb countries, during the presence of Sufis, and the spread of shrines of the righteous people, whose followers used to use it. Now, the conditions have changed, and the prayer beads are manufactured in factories, while the demand for them has decreased. However, Habib Al-Jawabi, who is approaching his 80s, is still fighting to preserve his craft, which is almost disappearing, so he taught it to his son, and now his workshop is the last place for the prayer beads industry in Tunisia.

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(SOUNDBITE) Mohammed Al-Habib Al-Jawabi – Prayer beads maker:

“I started in 1950 and learned it on my own by watching someone making it in the market, and then I started in the field learning everything and excreting effort. I love my work for itself, not for money. One prayer bead costs10 to 15 dinars which is nothing at this time, but still, I love it, and everything is going well.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mohammed Al-Habib Al-Jawabi – Prayer beads maker:

“He who wants money cannot learn a craft. If you love your craft, you will learn it, and if you don’t love it, you will gain nothing. Now, people ask you how much you will pay them before they enter the workshop, or ask about social security, they want to learn everything without entering the workshop. We learned without earning money, but we used to spend our money. Not only my craft, but every craft is also disappearing, there will come a day and you won’t find anyone to install a lock for the door, because the people who come to learn from the first-day demand social security, and salary without knowing anything”

(SOUNDBITE) Mohammed Al-Habib Al-Jawabi – Prayer beads maker:

“The craftsmen come to me from the whole world; Canada, France, Morocco, and Algeria, and most of them are from Algeria. I taught my 3 sons after they finish their studies”

(SOUNDBITE) Moez Al-Jawabi – Craftsman of prayers beads, the son of Al-Habib Al-Jawabi:

“I liked the craft and I can no longer stay without it. If I do not come to work in the morning, I feel that I have not done anything, and even any other work no longer means anything to me, because it is no longer a matter of money, no one no does such work, after my father and after me, you will not find any craftsman in this field as the new generation does not want to learn it, they think of money, not to love their work”

(SOUNDBITE) Moez Al-Jawabi – Craftsman of prayers beads, the son of Al-Habib Al-Jawabi:

“The beads are made from cow bone, jujube, olives, from a good fragrant wood called sardawi, amber, and many other materials. There are many types of jujube, like what is called yabinose, which is the most requested type and even cheap, while the rest of the things are expensive, especially after the revolution, or because of the closure of the borders, as we no longer import wood as usual.”

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