Fantasia: Morocco’s female warriors take on “game of gunpowder” at equestrian festivals

Fantasia is an ancient practice in the Maghreb region from when the indigenous Amazighs would fight on horseback in battle.

Also known as Game of Gunpowder or Tbourida, Fantasia is one of Morocco’s biggest and most popular festivals.

The presentation is a bright and colourful show which celebrates and shows off the skills and talents of the Amazigh riders. They each line up in traditional dress on their horses and canter 200 metres before firing their gunpowder loaded weapons all at the same time, creating a unified sound.

The festival, which is a celebration of the relationship between rider and horse, is a male-dominated equestrian event. Now groups of women are also taking their rightful position on horseback at these events.

In the below documentary, DW meets 25-year-old Afrae Ben Bih who at the age of 18 founded the first female equestrian unit.

It follows Afrae Ben Bih’s current troupe as they prepare to take part in a Fantasia in Médiouna near Casablanca, to celebrate the ancient martial arts of their ancestors.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.

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