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Imazi.Reine’s founder Fatima-Zohra on organising communities and decolonial feminism

Fatima-Zohra Ait El Maâti is the leader of the Belgian feminist 2.0 and inclusive collective Imazi.Reine. She spreads social consciousness through social media and creates safe space for women of color to express themselves. She’s organizing a community where people can rely on each other to find solace and answers to their traumas.

Direction & photography: Helena Verheyen // Interview & video edit: Paul-Henri Yuma // Main shot: Loic Meulenberg // Chief editor: Tim Vanhaecke.

Fatima-Zohra Ait El Maâti interviewed at BARA 142 © 2020 Paul-Henri Yuma.
“Seeing those women of color together getting strength out of sharing their stories leads to finding solutions, sometimes political solutions.” - Fatima-Zohra, founder of Imazi.Reine

INSPIRED BY WOMEN TO INSPIRE WOMEN

Born in Morocco and raised in Belgium, Fatima-Zohra Ait El Maâti is a student in Architecture and Sociology. Moreover, without any experience in documentary filmmaking, she released her short film “My Grandmother is Not a Feminist” in 2019. The feedback of the movie not only sparked discussions, but the public also labelled Fatima as an activist. The documentary explores womanhood, sexuality, immigration as well as decolonization, through a discussion between Fatima and her grandmother.

“I was born in a family of very strong women and I never questioned it.”, Fatima said. “Like having these feminine values in my family without using the word feminist, I always felt those things.”

Teaser of the short documentary "My grandmother is not a feminist" by Fatima-Zohra Ait El Maâti

Furthermore, the documentary shows how Fatima-Zohra was raised as an Amazigh Muslim woman. Amazigh represents an ethnic group of indigenous people in North Africa. In Tamazight or Berber language, it is pronounced Imazighen or IMAZI.REINE, which inspired Fatima to name her feminist collective that way.

Fatima-Zohra Ait El Maâti interviewed at BARA 142 © 2020 Helena Verheye.

A SAFE SPACE TO GATHER, FIGHT AND HEAL

On one hand, Imazi.Reine is a movement that values inclusivity, feminism 2.0, anti-racism and decolonization. On the other hand, it’s a safe space where women of color can "rely on each other" by sharing their stories both online and offline like intimate sisters. Fatima-Zohra also states how she needed this collective as much as the rest of her community:

"There's that strength in simply getting together and talking with people that go through the same things"

Imazi.Reine’s Instagram post about the success of the #HijabisFightBack campaign (2021)

In this interview Fatima talks about the diverse ways in which she uses her social media and her community to spread social consciousness. One of the collective’s goals is to debunk negative stereotypes and racist misconceptions towards Muslim women of color. The success of the #HijabisFightBack campaign, which Imazi.Reine co-organized against the headscarf ban in schools and universities, further exemplifies Fatima-Zohra's fight for decolonized feminism. She also explains how she organizes online and offline communities in a very inclusive way with women of color of the African diaspora, especially when it comes to mental health.

To explore more of her thoughts and activities to help women of color, you can watch the full interview on our IGTV.

This exclusive video is the third episode in a series of interviews with influencers using their social media to raise awareness about social topics. All of the interviews were done in respect of the governmental measures against the spread of Covid-19. This video was recorded at the temporary occupation BARA 142 (Toestand).



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