- Kateb, Yacine
- (1929-1989)Kateb Yacine was born in Constantine on 6 August 1929 and died in Grenoble, France, in 1989. He was born to the maraboutic tribe of Kbeltiya, an Arabized Berber tribe in eastern Algeria. He was a novelist, poet, and playwright. He was one of Algeria's most renowned francophone writers. In 1945, he was expelled from school after taking part in the Sétif uprising. He worked as a journalist for Alger Républicain, a communist daily. In 1951, he left for France and worked as an unskilled laborer. During the war of independence, he stayed away from Algeria.Prominent among his groundbreaking literary works stands the novel Nedjma (Star), which was published in 1956. Written in French and translated into several languages, Nedjma is concerned with the relentless search for and expression of personal and national identity. It is a great work of literature that combines history, autobiography, and poetry. In 1966, he published Le polygone etoilé, in which he lays out his disillusionment with the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) and independence. He also wrote a collection of poems, Soliloques (1946), and published a number of plays, such as Le cadavre encerclé, La poudre d'intelligence, Les ancêtres redoublent de férocité, Le cercle des représailles (1959), Mohammad prends ta valise (1971), La voix des femmes and L'homme aux sandales de caoutchouc (1970), and La guerre de 2000 ans (1975).Although he was accused of supporting the postcolonial authoritarian military junta, Kateb was also very critical of the violent way in which Algerian authorities dealt with the October 1988 riots. He opposed the rise of Islamist politics and decried its consequences for women. He also supported the Berber cause and considered Berber culture as one of the defining elements of Algerian culture and personality. Kateb Yacine viewed Algeria as a pluralist society and could not reconcile himself to independent Algeria or French Algeria. In 1987, he was awarded the Grand Prix national français des lettres.
Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . Hsain Ilahiane. 2014.