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Aicha Kandicha, from Resistance to Myth

Culture
24/10/2020
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Regardless of their age, most Moroccans are familiar with the legend of Aisha Kandicha. Her story originated in the 16th century during the Wattasid era, in the context of a fierce struggle against the Portuguese presence on Moroccan territory. In Morocco, Aisha Kandicha became a myth, described as the fatal seductress, the ambassador of the djinns, the one who terrified men as well as women. Her story has been passed down through stories and oral tradition for about five centuries, initially among the nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples of Morocco.

In reality, Aïcha Kandicha is originally one of the first Moroccan resistance fighters in history. Historians say that Aisha Kandicha was the daughter of a prominent member of a Souss tribe. Her beauty was described as rare and unequalled: with pure white skin, almond-shaped jet eyes, blood-coloured mouth, and silky black hair that fell to her hips. Aisha was engaged to a young Moroccan captain with a long brown beard.

In the 16th century, Morocco was weakened, making it a target for European intrusions. The powerless Wattaside dynasty lost Agadir and Mazagan (El-Jadida) to the Portuguese. The tribes resisted, and it was at this point that Aisha became famous for leading successful attacks against the occupiers.

After each attack, she retreated into the mountains with her guerrillas. The situation became increasingly frustrating for the Portuguese, who were unable to capture her, especially given her success, which provoked their fears, and she was nicknamed "La Condessa" (The Countess) by the occupiers, hence her Moroccanised nickname of Kandicha.

In addition, she received a lot of support from the population and people joined her guerrilla group by the dozen, seduced by her beauty and courage. Her technique was to use her charms to attract soldiers who were then killed by her accomplices in night ambushes.

One day, spotted by the opposing camp, the Portuguese, to punish her, coldly executed her entire family as well as her fiancé. Shocked, she fell into a murderous madness, the young woman wandered in the forest and the rumour spread among the local population that she was attacking young men to devour them, killing all the soldiers who crossed her path. She locked herself away for months, refusing to eat or communicate with anyone.

One day, she came out of her silence and joined the men of the village in their guerrilla war against the Portuguese. She vowed to avenge her husband who had been killed by the Portuguese. And with her beauty, she seduced the Portuguese officers and persuaded them to follow her at night to a remote corner. Then she would take out her knife and slit their throats.

After her death, her spirit haunted the place, according to the inhabitants of Morocco and many testimonies, the ghost of Aïcha Kandicha still exists, she would attack the only men who travel at night. Only her feet gave a clue as to who she was: she would have goat hooves.

Men who recognise her can escape. Unlucky is the one who gives in to her crystalline and bewitching voice, he would never come back to his family. Thus, Aisha the militant heroine became the evil spirit taking revenge on men.

Aisha la Condessa will remain one of the most extraordinary popular legends of Morocco, reflecting the cultural and historical heritage of the country.

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