Haydée Chikly

Mejri, Ouissal

At the beginning of the twentieth century, women were still relegated to an inferior position in Tunisia. Women had no authority and could not give their opinion on issues that concerned the whole family. It was unacceptable for some parents to send their daughters to school. At the same time, women could not work in an office or elsewhere. Women had not yet removed the veil. Haydée Chikly, the first actress and screenwriter in Africa, lived in this context. “I do not want a quiet and easy life, I want to fight, strive and struggle” (Tamzali 1992, 11). That was the statement made by Chikly in 1918 when she was a little girl sitting on a terrace in Carthage, contemplating people going out for a walk on a Sunday and observing the routine activities performed by the girls of her generation. Haydée started her career when she was only sixteen. Not only was she a screenwriter and an actress, but she also cut and hand-colored films on occasion (Mansour 2000, 200). She played a part in building the history of Arabic and African cinema.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019