Habiba Msika

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Habiba Msika
Habiba Msika.jpg
Born Habiba Habiba Messika
Died February 21, 1930
Nationality Tunisian
Other names حبيبة مسيكة
Occupation actor

Habiba Msika, also spelled Messika (حبيبة مسيكة), (born 1903 Testour – February 21, 1930 Tunis), was a Tunisian singer, dancer and actress. Born Marguerite Msika, she was the niece of singer Leila Sfez.

She quickly climbed the ladder of fame under the pseudonym Habiba ("beloved"). Prototype of the free, and master of her destiny, charismatic singer and daring actress, adored by Aboriginal Tunisian population, Msika was a social phenomenon in her time. The film The Fire Dance by Salma Baccar talks about her career.[1]



She was born in the Jewish quarter of Tunis in a poor family. His parents, Daida and Maïha, worked in the wire trade.

She learned to read and write in the school of the Israelite covenant, which she left after seven years to follow, through the help of her aunt, singing lessons, music theory and classical Arabic with the famous composer Khemaïs Tarnane and Egyptian tenor Hassan Bannan.

She married her cousin Victor Chetboun but their union lasted a short time.

Her first recital was held at the palace of La Marsa, where she met her Pygmalion and lover: the Minister de la Plume.


It was from 1920 that her career took off; she became a sex symbol and initiated the phenomenon of "soldiers of the night", the nickname for her fans, mostly young dandies of Tunisia.

It was at this time that she went with her lover to Paris, where through him she met Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel.

In March 1925, she played Romeo and Juliet at the Ben Kamla theatre.


On the morning of February 20, 1930, her former lover Eliyahu Mimouni entered her apartment in Alfred Durand-Claye street in Tunis, and attacked her. Badly burned, she died the next day, followed soon after by Mimouni. Msika is buried in the cemetery of Borgel in Tunis.[2]


  1. ^ Hillauer, Rebecca (2005-01-01). Encyclopedia of Arab Women Filmmakers. American Univ in Cairo Press. ISBN 9789774249433. 
  2. ^ Jacobs, Daniel; Morris, Peter (2001-01-01). The Rough Guide to Tunisia. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781858287485.