Beni Ades

The Beni Ades (Arabic بني عداس bnī ʕdās, Kabyle Bni Ɛdas[1]) are an itinerant group living in north-central Algeria, negatively stereotyped by the wider population and often loosely compared to the Roma.[2]

Beni Ades
Total population
Regions with significant populations
north-central Algeria
Related ethnic groups
Romani people in Algeria

In 1851, Alexandre Dumas describes these "Bohemians" as an endogamous itinerant group of horse-traders and fortune-tellers, and recounts colourful anecdotes of their horse-trading scams around Sétif.[3] In the early 20th century, they are described in similar terms as specialists in tattooing, circumcision, horse-trading, and fortune-telling.[4]

As the practice of tattooing declined over the 20th century,[5] they turned to other pursuits. By the early 21st century, a Beni Ades community in Tizi-Ouzou is described as making its living by begging and sand-mining, while rejecting school for the children, and claiming Tunisian nationality despite having come to the area from Algiers.[6]

The Beni Ades are reported to regularly visit certain saints' tombs, notably those of Sidi Ahmed ou Yousof in Miliana[7] and Sidi Khelifa in Saïda Province.[8]

See also


  1. Tassadit Yacine-Titouh, Poésie berbère et identité: Qasi Udifella, héraut des At Sidi Braham, Paris: Maison des sciences de l'homme, pp. 125-126
  2. Farouk Keddache, Echorouk 10/12/2018, الشروق العربي تغوص في أسرار بني عداس وعجائب العمريين... شعب بلا مقابر ولا هوية..!
  3. Alexandre Dumas, 1851, Le véloce ou Tanger, Alger et Tunis, Volume 4, pp. 48-53
  4. E. Gauthier, 1909, Magie et religion en Afrique du Nord, pp. 43-44.
  5. Yasmin Bendaas, 2013, Algeria’s tattoos: Myths and truths, Aljazeera English
  6. A. H. Sadek, La Dépêche de Kabylie, 17 août 2014, Fléaux de ceux vivant de l’aumône à Tizi-Ouzou : Les mendiants ont du génie
  7. Gauthier, op. cit.
  8. Keddache, op. cit.
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