Tunisia’s prisons offer few creative outlets, but prisoners have been creating their own for years.
Since the late 19th century, prisoners in Tunisia have been expressing themselves through Zindali, a musical style with roots in the country’s traditional Mezoued music.The name Zindali comes from Bardo’s Zindala prison.
The zoufri dance that accompanies the music is derived from the French les ouvriers, which means workers but is commonly used to refer to violent criminals and thieves. The dancers wear dengri, clothes that are a nod to marginalized people.
Modern day interpretations of Zindali and its origins, like Nouri Bouzid’s 1989 movie Sabots en Or which shows the brutality of prison life, have given a fresh new voice to the art form.