Tunisia- The Traditional Tunisian Balgha Resists to Stay Alive

26

Location: Tunis- Tunisia

Language: Arabic

Voice: Natural

Duration: 00:05:06

Source: A24

Restrictions: A24 Clients

Dateline: 27/01/2022

Storyline

The Tunisian Balgha is an integral part of the traditional garment worn by women and men. In the past, there was a special market for Balgha, which are slippers made of leather, in the ancient city -Medina of Tunis. However, only a few artisans still work in such a craft since merchants have scaled up the production of Balgha, introducing various shapes and types. Facing mounting pressure to keep their craft alive, artisans demanded government intervention in terms of offering exhibitions and markets for their Balgha production

-shot list

-SOUNDBITE (Nizar Al-Fitouri – Artisan specialized in Balgha making)

We inherited such craft from our father, as our great ancestors mastered the craft of Balgha making. We have an old saying about profession stating: ” Inheritance fades but true profession lasts”. Therefore, we are always keen to develop such a craft so to keep it alive. The last two years were the worst because we spent a lot of money and exerted too much effort to no avail. In general, merchants do better than artisans because they work once the market is open while artisans’ work fluctuate in some seasons so they would make changes that would go in line with the seasonal demand

-SOUNDBITE (Nizar Al-Fitouri – Artisan specialized in Balgha making)

–   Despite the fact that prices of Balgha are still the same, demand is notably low. The income I make isn’t a lot, it is only enough for basic necessities. Sometimes, I make profits and in other times, I spend my money to keep it alive. Moreover, Balgha is no longer part of the everyday garments, rather, it is only worn in special occasions such as circumcision, weddings, and holidays to take pictures. This is mainly because people are barely covering their daily expenses.

-SOUNDBITE (  Nizar Al-Fitouri – Artisan specialized in  Balgha making)

–   If I was a decision-maker, I would have adopted many procedures to keep this craft alive. The top of which is to offer markets for Balgha production. I don’t need a loan of one, two, or even three thousand Dinars because in a short period, they will vanish and I will be in debt. We basically need markets and facilities just like the support artisans receive in other countries to promote their production

-SOUNDBITE (  Nizar Al-Fitouri – Artisan specialized in  Balgha making)

There is no interest in learning this craft and different generations of artisans don’t communicate. Therefore, after 10 years from now, this craft will vanish or maybe you will find a small corner with a retired man selling two pairs of Balgha

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