Tunisia –Skilful Tunisian craftsman continues making bird cages for 50 years


Location: Tunis – Tunisia

Language: Arabic

Voice: Natural

Duration: 00:05:47

Source: A24

Restriction: A24 Clients

Dateline: 18-05-2022


Hadi Arfaoui, a Tunisian craftsman, has been making bird cages for 50 years, where the old profession is considered a symbol of Tunisia, especially in the city of Sidi Bou Said.

The cages of the Hadi consist of a dome above a bird’s room with windows similar to those of the houses of the old cities and the city of Sidi Bou Said in Tunis.

Raising rare and colorful birds, especially canaries, is widespread in Tunisia, so buying cages is very popular too.

Some people buy ordinary cages to raise birds for the purpose of trade, while others look for high-quality and aesthetic cages to decorate homes, gardens, or balconies, one of which is sold at about $100.

Shot list

Soundbite (Hadi Al-Arfawi – Craftsman):

“I have been working in this craft for about 54 years. I started working in 1968 by myself and in 2003 I started this shop.”

Soundbite (Hadi Al-Arfawi – Craftsman):

“These cages are well known and present the identity of Tunisia. People demand it from the whole world. Many citizens from abroad buy it and take it with them to France, Germany, and other countries.”

Soundbite (Hadi Al-Arfawi – Craftsman):

“This work requires focus and patience. A person needs at least two years to learn this profession. In 1970 or 1975 it was very much in demand. At that time people from China came and tried to learn everything related to this profession but they could not imitate our work.”

Soundbite (Hadi Al-Arfawi – Craftsman):

“We used to participate abroad in many exhibitions, including the World Cup in Japan in 2002, and I spent 30 days there. Now we cannot go out because the new procedures require that all the expenses are on us.”

Soundbite (Hadi Al-Arfawi – Craftsman):

“We developed this craft, and make new pieces, including wedding plates, as well as chandeliers, key holders, and others so that we can survive more in this profession.”

Soundbite (Najwa Hathroubi – Craftsman):

“We created a lot of new pieces. Uncle Hadi and I make cages, plates, and chandeliers. In the beginning, it was difficult, but with time it became easy and familiar. Sometimes I make other pieces, and Uncle Hadi helps me. The cages symbolize the identity of Tunisia, especially the cage of Sidi Bou Said with its blue and white colors. Some craftsmen want to replace the colors with yellow and red, but we advise them to use blue and white, as they symbolize Tunisia.”

Soundbite (Hadi Al-Arfawi – Craftsman):

“The cage has become more expensive as the price of raw materials has increased. The paint that used to cost 10 dinars has become 20 dinars. Everything has become expensive, but we continue to work because this is our craft. I am 54 years old and I still haven’t given up yet.”              

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