Morocco’s Warrior Women | DocFilm | DW | 22.11.2020
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DocFilm

Morocco’s Warrior Women

Women are taking over the Fantasia, a male-dominated equestrian event in Morocco. Once a year, riders in Médiouna near Casablanca celebrate the ancient martial arts of their ancestors. Now, Moroccan women are changing the rules.

Watch video 42:36

It’s like a dream from "A Thousand and One Nights." The Fantasia, also known as the "Game of Powder," is underway. More than 500 riders join in the traditional competition, which until now has been dominated by men. But Moroccan society is changing. Afrae Ben Bih is 25 years old. She lives near the Moroccan capital, Rabat. Her father taught her to ride when she was a child. It was back then she discovered her passion for the Fantasia. She set her heart on it and after lots of hard work and support from her parents, Afrae at 18 founded the first female equestrian unit and faced her critics. Only a few of the original women remain, because many left the group when they wed. Afrae relied on social media to develop contacts and set up a new unit. Sanaa El Moustache is one of the few women on the team who doesn’t come from a family of riders continuing an equestrian tradition. For a long time, she even kept her passion secret from her parents. This documentary follows Afrae’s troupe as they prepare to take part in a Fantasia. Families, friends, team members, and men have a say, as the film takes viewers into a world of masculine ritual and carnival spirit.