Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.1

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Algeria has nominated Ritual and ceremonies of Sebeïba in the oasis of Djanet, Algeria (No. 00665) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

    The ritual and ceremonies of Sebeïba are practised by two communities living in Djanet during ten days in the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Male dancers and female singers compete for the right to represent their communities during a nine-day contest called Timoulawine. The chosen winners take part in the Sebeïba ritual and ceremonies the next day. The male dancers, dressed as warriors, and female singers walk to a place called Loghya for the performance of the ritual. Once there, the male dancers stand in a ritual circle rattling their swords continuously as the women sing traditional songs to the rhythm of the tambourine. At the end of the day, the participants disperse. Knowledge related to the ritual and ceremonies is transmitted directly from older to younger members. Local craftspeople produce and repair the uniforms, weapons, jewellery and musical instruments required for the ritual and ceremonies. The Sebeïba ritual and ceremonies are an important marker of cultural identity for Tuareg people living in the Algerian Sahara. They reinforce social cohesion, symbolically warding off potential violence between rival communities by simulating and transposing it to the realm of artistic competition.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:

    R.1:   Practised by groups of Tuareg people living in the oasis of Djanet, the Sebeïba ritual has been orally transmitted through generations, providing its participants a sense of identity and continuity promoting social cohesion among sedentary and nomadic groups of the Sahara and contributing to peace and mutual respect among communities;

    R.2:   The inscription of the element on the Representative List can contribute to increasing the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general and, beyond, to fostering social cohesion and dialogue;

    R.3:   Varied safeguarding measures include research, documentation and diffusion and have been elaborated with the active participation of the community as well as with public institutions;

    R.4:   Residents of Djanet of all ages and genders participating in the Sebeïba ritual were involved in the nomination process together with local authorities and have provided their free, prior and informed consent;

    R.5:   The element is included in the national database of the intangible cultural heritage of Algeria maintained by the Ministry of Culture which is regularly updated and accessible on the Internet.

  1. Inscribes the Ritual and ceremonies of Sebeïba in the oasis of Djanet, Algeria on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Recalls the importance of using vocabulary appropriate to the spirit of the Convention and avoiding expressions such as ‘unique’ and ‘exceptional’.