Republic Arab Saharawi Democratic

Setting up a music project in the Saharawi refugee camps in south-west Algeria may not seem to some an obvious priority for a population that relies largely on humanitarian aid for its survival. Yet that is precisely what London-based arts and human rights charity Sandblast has been hard at work doing since early 2010.


Morocco, which militarily controls Western Sahara since its occupation in 1975, is trying to present a false image of the situation in Western Sahara, taking advantage of the military siege and the media blockade imposed on the region.

© Violeta Ruano

Music and poetry have been key elements in Saharawi culture since nomadic times, when they were efficient ways of transmitting news and stories, providing entertainment and establishing links among the tribes. After Spain abandoned Western Sahara and Morocco and Mauritania invaded the territory in 1975, music became the voice of the revolution. It played an essential role in the formation and establishment of the new Saharawi Republic and the reshaping of the society. Music, thus, was used more


The Moroccan regime goes into appalling lengths to dehumanize Saharawi school children, even promoting drug use among them to break their resistance. But many of the children are increasingly politically conscious

Africa Contact strongly condemns the harsh and unjust sentences given February 17 by a Moroccan military court to 24 Saharawis - Western Sahara's indigenous population - just for demanding the right to live in their own country without Moroccan occupation and discrimination