In the early 16th century, a few years after Christopher Columbus, an intrepid young and talented Moroccan became the first African to set foot on the New World
Befriended by native Americans and spiritual healers, after travels worthy of the best adventure novels, the legend of "Esteban" Azemmour, grew. He was the first man of the old world to explore the West Coast of the Americas and, legend has it, would have seen the mythical cities of gold.
The extraordinary story of Mustafa Azemmour nicknamed "Esteban Black" discoverer of cities of gold is superb storytelling set to music.
Saturday, December 13, 6pm, Dar Batha
All age groups - Free entry
Leo Fabre-Cartier Oud
Frédéric Calmès: Conte
Arthur Narcy: Percussion
Behind the legend:
Estevanico (c. 1500–1539), born in Morocco, was the first-known person born in Africa to land in the present-day continental United States.
He is known by many different names, in the Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and English languages, in a variety of historic works. Among the most common are Arabic: إستيفانيكو; "Mustafa Zemmouri" (مصطفى زموري), "Black Stephen"; "Esteban"; "Esteban the Moor"; "Estevan", "Estebanico", "Stephen the Black", "Stephen the Moor"; "Stephen Dorantes" and "Esteban de Dorantes," after his owner Andres Dorantes; and "Little Stephen".
Enslaved as a youth by the Portuguese, he was sold to a Spanish nobleman and taken in 1527 on the Spanish Narváez expedition. He was one of four survivors among the 600-man expedition, and traveled for eight years with Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, and Alonso del Castillo Maldonado across northern New Spain (present-day U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico), before they reached Spanish forces in Mexico City in 1536.
Later Estevanico served as the main guide for a return expedition to the Southwest, where he was killed in the Zuni city of Hawikuh in 1539.
The Moor's Account, a 2014 novel by Laila Lalami, is a fictional memoir of Estevanico, the Moroccan slave who survived the Narvez expedition and accompanied Cabeza de Vaca.
Lalami explains that nothing is known about him except for one line in Cabeza de Vaca's chronicle: "The fourth [survivor] is Estevanico, an Arab Negro from Azamor."