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Africa was once the name of a Roman province

Berbers move into Africa

Here is the second paragraph for you to read more easily:

Devant l'invasion arabe (VIIème siecle), les Berbères
du Sud doivent se replier. Ils occupent, effet,
"un passage étroit, qui est la seule voie d'invasion
possible pour les tribus de la province Tripolitaine
vers la province d'Afrique.

In other words, the red arrow along the Tunisian coast is the route the Berbers took from the East into Africa”.

You’ll notice, too, the name l’lfriqiya in the following paragraph of the text. That is the Arab name for Afrique, the Roman name for Tunisia and later our word for the whole continent.

Au cœur de la Tunisie, voici le berceau du mot Afrique”

Par Hatem Bourial

I found this article at webdo.tn

Mar 15, 2012

Lafareg - photo (Hatem Bourial)
Dans le nord-ouest de la Tunisie, la région qui fut le grenier à blé de Rome se nomme Friga.
Ce terme géographique de Friga découle du nom
d’une vieille tribu numide et existe encore de nos
jours selon deux déclinaisons.

La première, c’est la famille Frigui qui vient de
cette région.

La deuxième, c’est le village de Lafareg (notre
photo) qui regroupait ce clan.

Le mot tunisien Friga est à l’origine du mot

En effet, les Romains ont adopté ce toponyme
original et l’ont légèrement altéré pour obtenir
Africa, nom antique de la Tunisie qui deviendra
celui du continent entier.

Plus tard, les Arabes, ayant conquis la Tunisie,
garderont l’appellation romaine de Africa qui
deviendra Ifriquiya.

Quant au terme initial de Friga, racine
étymologique tunisienne du mot Afrique, il
continue à être usité dans le nord-ouest.

I took a photo of the same sign


The reason for this seeming coincidence is that Hatem Bourial was the guide on a trip that I had helped organize in 2012, a year after the Tunisian Spring. A group of about a half dozen former Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) traveled back to Tunisia with the help of Jerry Sorkin. The trip was different from most tours of Tunisia because we visited the locations where each of us had been stationed in the Peace Corps, and some of these places were definitely not for tourists.

Standing in front of this sign on a beautiful crisp day, at the original heart of Africa, felt ancient and sacred.

Linguistic note

You’ll notice that the last letter of Lafareg - q, a sound which English speakers cannot distinguish or pronounce very well - is pronounced g in the local dialect. The same was true in Gafsa (not Qafsa), the town where I lived for three years on the south.

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