Aicha Kandicha, from Resistance to Myth

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egardless of their age, most Moroccans are familiar with the legend of Aicha Kandicha (or Qandisha). Her story began in the 16th century during the Wattassid era, in a context of fierce struggle against the Portuguese presence on Moroccan territory. In Morocco, Aicha Kandicha has become a myth, described as a fatal seductress, the ambassador of the djinns, one who terrifies men as much as she does women.

Her story has spread orally for about five centuries, initially among the nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples of Morocco.

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In reality, Aicha Kandicha was originally one of the first Moroccan resistance fighters in history. Historians claim Aicha Kandicha was the daughter of a notable member of a Souss tribe.

Her beauty was described as rare and unparalleled, with pure fair skin, almond jet eyes, a blood-colored mouth, and silky black hair that fell to her hips. Aicha was said to be engaged to a young long-bearded Moroccan captain.

In the 16th century, Morocco was weakened, making it a target of European intrusions. The powerless Wattassid dynasty saw itself losing Agadir and then Mazagan (El-Jadida) to the Portuguese. The tribes however resisted, and it was at this point that Aicha became famous for carrying out successful attacks against the occupiers.

After each attack, she'd withdraw into the mountains with her guerrillas. The situation became more and more frustrating for the Portuguese, unable to capture her, especially given her success, which, striking fear into them, granted her a nickname by the occupants of “La Condessa” (The Countess), hence her Moroccan nickname of Kandicha.

Moreover, she went on to receive a lot of support from the population and dozens of people became involved in her guerrilla warfare, seduced by her beauty and courage. Her technique mainly consisted of using her charms to attract soldiers who were then killed by her accomplices during nocturnal ambushes.

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One day, after being spotted by the opposing Portuguese camp and aiming to punish her, her entire family as well as her fiancé would be coldly executed. Shocked, she'll soon fall into a murderous madness, wandering in the forest which sparked the rumor among the local populations that she was preying on young people to devour them, also killing all the soldiers who crossed her path. She locked herself up for months, refusing to eat and to communicate with anyone.

At some point however, she broke her silence and joined the men of the village in their guerrilla war against the Portuguese. She vowed to avenge her husband who was killed by the Portuguese. Her beauty once again came of help, as she seduced numerous Portuguese officers and persuaded them to follow her at night to secluded areas. It's then that she'd pull out her knife to slit their throats.

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After her death, her spirit lingered on, haunted the area. According to numerous witness reports from the inhabitants of Morocco, the ghost of Aicha Kandicha still exists, attacking single men who travel at night. It's only through her legs that one can recognize her, as she's said to have goats' hooves.

Men who recognize her can escape. The unlucky ones giving into her enchanting voice never returned among their families. Thus, Aicha the militant heroine became the evil spirit taking revenge-personification on men.

Aicha la Condessa will remain one of the most extraordinary popular legends of Morocco, reflecting the cultural and historical heritage of the country.

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