While the Moroccan artistic scene is mourning the passing of the emblematic symbol of Moroccan theater and cinema, Amina Rachid, we take a look back at her successful career.
Rabat – Amina Rachid, officially Jamila Ben Omar, was born on 11 April, 1936, in the city of Marrakech.
Growing up in the artistic environment of the imperial city, Rachid developed a certain love for the arts, acting in particular. She discovered her talents as an actress while still a student in primary school. When Rachid reached high school, in the 1950s, she had already gained experience as an amateur actress in school plays.
In the early 1960s, Moroccan national radio announced their need for new female recruits. Rachid took the offer and made her debut in the field of radio theater, along with her lifelong colleague Habiba El Madkouri, who passed away in 2011. During her years at the Moroccan radio, Amina Rachid met and worked alongside famous Moroccan artists, including Hamidou Benmessaoud, known as Amidou, Hmadi Tounsi, Abderrazak Hakam, Brahim Ahmed Soussi, and Mohammed Thami Gherbi.
Rachid started her official acting career in 1962. She played roles in around 60 plays over her lifetime, she performed more than 3,500 dramas, evening shows, and radio series.
Rachid, along with Madkouri, are known as the first women to start an acting career in Morocco, as only men were allowed to participate in theater before, playing both male and female gendered roles at the time.
In 1971, Rachid took an acting training course abroad, before she came back to Morocco to become an employee at the National Company of Broadcasting and Television (SNRT), where she met her future husband and life partner Abdellah Chakroun.
Chakroun was also an employee at SNRT when he got engaged to Rachid, ten years his junior. He went on to become SNRT’s director, then general manager of the Arab Radio and Television Union, and finally an advisor at the Ministry of Culture.
Rachid and her husband Abdellah Chakroun were one of the most famous couples in the Moroccan art industry. During their marriage, which lasted more than 50 years, Rachid always asked her husband for advice when it came to job offers and other decisions. She also accompanied her husband on all his travels, either professional ones or those for medical reasons.
Chakroun devoted most of his free time to writing. He wrote many books about theater and culture. He also wrote a biography about his wife, entitled “Amina Rachid: An Actress in Radio, Theater, Television and Cinema”.
The artistic couple had two children during their long marriage. After Chakroun’s death in 2017, Amina Rachid’s health deteriorated until she finally slipped away on Monday, August 26.
Over the course of her career in plays, movies, dramas and soap operas,Rachid performed in several emblematic movies that became classics of the Moroccan cinema. She starred in “Lalla Hobby” (My Love, 1996), “Fiha lmelh w skarr w mabghatch tmout” (She has diabetes and blood pressure and she does not want to die, 1999), and “Qoloub Mouhtariqa” (Burning Hearts, 2007) to name a few.
Some of Rachid’s most famous dramas and soap-operas are “Lwassiya” (The Will, 1999), “Laouni” (2005), and “Hnia, Mbark w Massoud” (2006).
During her impressive career, Amina Rachid earned many awards and distinctions in film festivals, including National Cinema Festival (2001), Marrakech International Film Festival (2003), Tangier National Film Festival (2011), and Agadir Laughter Festival (2015). Her latest distinction was on July 23, 2019, in “Ciné Plage” Festival in Harhoura (near Rabat).
In 2006, King Mohammed VI decorated Amina Rachid with a medal of the order of the knight, one of the most prestigious medals of honor that Moroccans can receive. The decoration served as reward to Rachid for her leading role in Moroccan arts.
Amina Rachid was and will remain a symbol of Moroccan art, who left her mark on Moroccan radio, theater, television, cinema, and more importantly in the shared memory of Moroccan spectators.