The Art and Value of Tawizah in Sidi Bouzid
Al Zazya Barkoky (Tunisia)
Tawizah is a Tunisian word that describes the collective tasks that people perform voluntarily in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. Tawizah is closely related to the customs and traditions of the tribes’ socio-economic life.
Tawizah is a collaborative voluntary effort in which the whole group puts its tools and skills to work for a group or individual. This phenomenon shows the great social value of a practice derived from customs and cultural traditions.
Tawizah consists of the collective efforts of peasants who are dependent on agriculture and livestock and who rely primarily on traditional methods, simple tools and simple machinery. The group’s members must cooperate and collaborate in order for the group to be successful.
Tawizah plays a significant role in seasonal activities, because group effort significantly reduces the burden on individuals.
Born of necessity, Tawizah helps to provide shelter, clothing and food for individual group members. By working together, people are able to accomplish more in less time.
We must also consider Tawizah’s spiritual and psychological benefits; it serves both as a means of consultation, dialogue and exchange for group members, and as a cathartic means of self-expression, because group members share thoughts and feelings by singing and dancing while they work. Songs include Ya Lumi Aalzargah, which is only performed as part of Tawizah.
Tawizah helps to preserve heritage and songs play an essential role in preserving oral tradition. There is a strong relationship between the song and the setting in which it is performed; when a song is performed outside of the context of Tawizah, the singers’ memory tends to betray them.