ReviewsThe invisible immigrants in Algeria

The invisible immigrants in Algeria

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BY HAMZAH DERBAZI


Ça va waka” is what the Algerian photographer Nasim Rouchiche has named his collection of African immigrants haunting photographs.

The exhibition that took place in Bamako, Mali, was shedding some light on the rarely addressed problem facing the African immigrants in the Algerian capital, Algiers.

There is an increase in the amount of immigrants in Algeria, especially from the Sub-Saharian region or other zone of conflicts in Africa. Although there are no concrete statistics, a study at the university of Constantine (Eastern Algeria) estimated them to amount between approx. 250.000 to 400.000 immigrants.

The Algerian government has totally ignored these waves of undocumented immigrants, to not call them illegal, and has never discussed their presence in the country or social situation.

Nassim Rouchiche captures from his "ça va waka" exhibition in Bamako, Mali. 2015.

Nassim Rouchiche captures from his “ça va waka” exhibition in Bamako, Mali. 2015.

Rouchiche portrayed his subjects in a transparent way, in order for people to see them as ghosts; “Ghosts are the ones who couldn’t go to heaven or to hell”, a situation that describes accurately the life of the  immigrants, who can’t make it in Algeria nor go back to their motherlands.

These immigrants, who sees Algeria as a gate to flee the continent or an opportunity to have a better life, are being treated badly by the majority of the Algerian society, and in a shocking article published by “Jeune Afrique” titled “in Algeria, a wind of racism is blowing on the African immigrants” in which sentences like “they bring us diseases” or “they are infecting our society” were directly declared by some of the interviewees, you wonder where do these people think Algeria is situated.

Nassim Rouchiche captures from his "ça va waka" exhibition in Bamako, Mali. 2015.

Nassim Rouchiche captures from his “ça va waka” exhibition in Bamako, Mali. 2015.

The choosing of the title of the exhibition wasn’t random according to the photographer, as “waka” is the African way of saying “things are going to be alright” and it’s a name that “gives hope” while this immigrant issue is being ignored.

I hope that someday people will talk about it as a real issue and a social problem in Algeria” Rouchiche adds to CNN.

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