When the soul of Marrakech hangs over Johannesburg

When the soul of Marrakech hangs over Johannesburg

Pini, this South African of Jewish faith with a piercing gaze and a dazzling silvery gray hair, is delighted to recount his love for Morocco, the country of his ancestors, and more particularly for Marrakech.
It is inside the walls of the old medina of the ocher city that Pini was born almost 65 years ago, before his parents decided to go to South Africa, where his father's family had developed a prosperous business in the field of tourism and real estate development.

Met one day in a luxurious restaurant in Johannesburg, the City of Gold of the rainbow nation, Pini explains that he has never forgotten his Moroccan roots, even though he lived in the Nelson Mandela’s country since the age of 14.

"The scents of Marrakech, the generosity of Moroccans and the splendor of our culture of living together have never left my mind," says Pini, whose face brightens every time he evokes memories of his childhood in the alleys of Marrakech.

“Morocco has never left me,” loves to affirm Pini who runs a large security company in this vast South African metropolis. Married to a Jewish woman of European origin, Pini retains this deep bond with Morocco that he still prides himself on calling his motherland.

"I was keen to educate my children according to the values we had learned at home in Morocco," continues Pini whose family ensures the celebration of religious ceremonies in the pure Moroccan tradition.
He remembers the religious festivals celebrated in communion between Jews and Muslims, a memory of a beautiful childhood that Pini keeps with a touch of nostalgia. This spirit of sharing is lacking in South Africa, where the wounds and resentments of a painful racist past are still alive in people's minds and especially in behaviors, continues Pini.

Pini shares this proud attachment to Morocco with several of his cor-religionists, of Moroccan origin, who have taken up residence in South Africa. The love of Morocco and Marrakech has indeed prompted a major Jewish real estate developer to name after the Moroccan imperial city a luxurious residential complex that sits majestically in one of the arteries of Sandton, Johannesburg's financial district.

"Engraving the name of Marrakech at the entrance of the complex was a moment of strong emotions that we had celebrated with great pomp to commemorate our history and our plural identity and, at the same time, to pay homage to our Moroccan roots", recalls Pini , who does not hide a dream he nurtures, in his South African exile, of ending his days where he uttered his first cry… in Morocco.