Sara Mouhyeddine is one of the young hikayat apprentices who is a regular fixture at the Cafe Clock. During the day, Sara is a teacher-trainee at the American Language Centre and a graduate of the English program at Cadi Ayyad University. Her students say that she can teach vocabulary without words by relying upon her expressive gesticulation.
“What’s really nice about the stories is that they make you go back in time. The storyteller creates a virtual world. While you listen to the story you get transported to another world. I want the audience to feel as though they’re a part of the experience.” – Sara
The stories are really effective in teaching morals. When I think about the moral to a particular story, I get flashbacks to my life and the experiences related to the moral.” – Sara
The Moroccan tradition of hikayat, or storytelling, dates back almost 1,000 years. Some stories were recorded and other stories are passed orally. This form of entertainment is in danger of becoming extinct. Previously, hikayat was found in cities throughout Morocco, but today Marrakech’s Jema el-Fna’a square is one of the last places to hear the old stories and there are fewer and fewer storytellers. Cafe Clock offers a new venue and an opportunity for young Moroccans to train in this ancient art.
In his youth, master storyteller Ahmed Ezzarghani was a travelling salesman. Selling coffee at souks, he would often join the crowds gathering around storytellers. It was at that time that he became interested in collecting Morocco’s traditional fables. He also studied the craft and he eventually began to tell the stories himself.
50 years later he is committed to passing Morocco’s oral tradition to the next generation. Today, Haj Ahmed trains a group of young apprentices in order to keep the rich Moroccan heritage alive.