Massinissa of the Rif
Massinissa n Dadi Akandouch Aouattah Bouyfruri
8 November 2001
|Known for||Participant of the Hirak Rif Movement · climate change activism|
|Title||President of the Rif Tribes Foundation|
|Part of a series on|
|Hirak Rif Movement|
|Nasser Zefzafi and Salima Ziani|
Massinissa Akandouch (born Massinissa n Dadi Akandouch Aouattah Bouyfruri, Tamazight pronunciation: // and Neo-Tifinagh: ⵎⴰⵙⵙⵉⵏⵉⵙⵙⴰ, better known as Massinissa of the Rif; born 8 November 2001) is a Moroccan-born Riffian indigenous activist, humanitarian worker and media personality. He is the great-great-grandson of Prince Amghar Sidi Mohand Ameziane of the Rif.
Early life and family
Akandouch's family has been present in the African political sphere since the 19th century. His paternal great-great-grandfather Prince Amghar Sidi Mohand Ameziane of the Rif was a tribal leader and the first Riffian anti-colonial leader who led the Riffians to war against the Spanish colonization of the Rif which ultimately led to him being killed in battle during the Kert campaign. He was later succeeded by President Abd el-Krim of the Republic of the Rif where douring Prince Mohand Ameziane's funeral, beheld the body of the Prince and wrote a letter to his father describing it. Prince Mohand Ameziane is now considered a national hero in the Rif Mountains.
He is the son of famous Riffian singer-songwriter Abdelhak Akandouch, founder of the band Twattoun, and the Riffian author and activist Asmaa Aouattah. Akandouch started his journey as an activist as a child, joining conferences, protests and campaigns that his family organized to promote Amazigh and Riffian identity, culture and language, feminism, and social rights. Massinissa and his family were featured on the Catalan national TV channel TV3, when Massinissa was only an early teenager, on the show Amb ulls de nen to document the family's lifestyle and tell Massinissa's story.
Although he is of Riffian descent, Akandouch holds citizenship of the Kingdom of Morocco, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Spain.
"When I was young I didn't want to be Amazigh, nor Riffian. I was ashamed. I straightened my hair with keratin and bleached my skin. Thanks to the Hirak Rif Movement I realized what an honor it is to be who I am and to come from where I come from".
— Massinissa Akandouch, Barcelona, July 2021
Massinissa grew up in an activist family. His mother was a civil rights leader in the Rif region in the 80s and suffered repression and persecution from the Moroccan authorities. His father, also an activist, wrote and sang popular songs in Riffian, talking about the repression in the region and Riffian leaders like Abd el-Krim and Prince Mohand Ameziane. His parents, experiences with racism, social discrimination, and immigrant background, caused activism to be a major part of Massinissa's life since he was born.
Animal rights and climate activism
Akandouch became involved with the animal rights movement In 2018, when he was 17 years old, joining protests and campaigns across Europe promoting animal welfare and plant-based diets. In late 2019, due to public backlash, media, and political attacks, Akandouch wasn't publicly seen doing any animal rights activism anymore and appeared to switch his focus in promoting his culture and various other social causes.
In 2019, Akandouch joined Fridays for Future's Climate Strike in Barcelona as an extension to his activism and joined the 2019 "International Rebellion" actions by Extinction Rebellion in London, Barcelona, and Madrid.
He was invited to the first Catalan Climate Action Summit in Barcelona organized by the Government of Catalonia and attended the COP25 Conference in Madrid organized by the United Nations (other figures like climate activist Greta Thunberg and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also attended the COP25 in Madrid).
Public and charity work
Rif Tribes Foundation
Massinissa is the founder and President of the Rif Tribes Foundation, a youth-led impact-driven humanitarian and cultural organization dedicated to the people of the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco. His work at the Foundation, focuses mainly on humanitarian action and cultural development and has seen running programmes on hunger relief, through the delivery of monthly food relief boxes to families across the Rif Mountains.
Letter to the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27)
In October 2022, Akandouch issued a letter together with the Rif Tribes Foundation to "high-level stakeholders" on the occasion of COP27 warning about the effects of the Spanish use of Chemical Weapons during the Rif War on the Rif's ecosystem and people's health. The letter sites the past and present struggles of the Rif region, from the effects of Franco-Spanish colonial crimes to health issues that the citizens suffer from due to past use of chemical weapons such as phosgene, diphosgene, chloropicrin, and mustard gas, known as Iperita by Spain during the Rif War (1921-1927).
Massinissa joined the team of Carles Puigdemont, former President of Catalonia and Antoni Comín, former Minister of Health of Catalonia at the European Parliament in 2021 as a trainee.
- El Bouchtaoui, Hiba. "Rif Tribes foundation draws COP27 attention to devastating ecosystem of the region". Hespress English. Hespress English. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
- "Riffians dare to remember: Part 1".
- Atienza Peñarrocha, Antonio (2012). Africanistas y junteros. El ejército español en África y el Oficial José Enrique Varela Iglesias (PDF). Valencia. p. 166.
- ""I think the desperation pushes us to create, to sing, to get the best out of us"". Fundación ACM. Fundación ACM.
- "Massin, el chaval de 17 años que aterra a los ganaderos catalanes". Crónica Global.
- "Massin Akandouch, activismo, desobediencia y 'likes' — Deriva". revistaderiva.com.
- Escola. La vida social [School. Social life]. Amb ulls de nen (in Catalan). TV3. March 20, 2014.
- "La persistente lucha del pueblo 'amazigh' por no caer en el olvido". El País. 29 July 2021.
- "MASSIN AKANDOUCH, ACTIVISMO, DESOBEDIENCIA Y 'LIKES'". revistaderiva.com.
- Benito, Mariam (September 15, 2019). "Terrorismo vegano: "Comer carne es fascista"". La Razón.
- "Los 14 conejos 'liberados' de Gurb... y la moda de los turistas veganos que asaltan granjas en Cataluña". ELMUNDO. September 12, 2019.
- "Asalto a las granjas". La Vanguardia. July 21, 2019.
- "conoce el joven musulman animalista que tiene aterrorizados a los ganaderos españoles". 12 May 2022.
- "COP25: Greta Thunberg Arrives In Madrid". Forbes. Retrieved Dec 6, 2019.
- "About | Rif Tribes Foundation". Rif Tribes Fdn. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
- Espriu, Bianca Carrera (2022-08-07). "Atacando las raíces coloniales de nuestros platos: un proyecto jóven que proporciona ayuda humanitaria en El Rif". elDiario.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-10-26.
- "Rif Tribes foundation draws COP27 attention to devastating ecosystem of the region". HESPRESS English - Morocco News. 2022-10-12. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
- "Massinissa Akandouch". LinkedIn.[unreliable source?]