My mothers cloak

Malika Ouacha

July 15, 2020

A few months ago, I discovered; there is a part of my mothers’ legacy I didn’t know existed.I called my sisters and aunts in Morocco and France, and they told me where I had to go to find it. Turns out: it wasn’t in Morocco, where my mother was born, or The Netherlands where she died. I had to go to Metz, France and visit my sisters’ home. Before my mother married my father, and had her 4 daughters, she wove 4 cloaks. We call them ‘tihandirin’. Berber-women wear them during the cold winters in the Atlas Mountains. They are made of wool and colored with natural products. My mother made 4, because she somehow knew she would have 4 daughters whom she would leave in an early stage, my father told me. Making us a cloak with her own bare hands, then wear it a little while so it would smell like her to finally cover each cloak in some wool so that the smell would always remain in the cloak, would make us feel her closer than ever. And that was exactly the case, when I got my cloak last night, on Mother’s Day. I could smell her, after 16 years. And for a few seconds, she was there with me. It was beyond magical.

~ Malika


Malika Ouacha

As an anthropologist, I combine my expertise in both lecturing and research. I lecture at the School of Social Work at Windesheim University. As a PhD researcher at the Rotterdam School of Management, I do research on cross-border diasporic philanthropy. I spend my spare time dancing ballet, reading, cooking and running

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