Jezia Nouma, the female breadwinner
Jezia Nouma perfectly embodies the subject of her first documentary series, "Saib Alik", which roughly translates to "Give Up". This series challenges the cultural norms of Southern Tunisia and shines a spotlight on women who work in traditionally male professions. Profile by Bérengère Merlot.
We hear the sound of something breaking to symbolise the cracking of tradition. The first episode of "Saib Alik" is characterised by a lovely humorous touch and Jezia Nouma in front of the camera. It centres around Nourhene Ben Slama, a young woman from Djerba who works as a riding instructor, a profession that is common on this island in South-East Tunisia, but that is largely male-dominated. The video, which was uploaded in April 2023, has been very well received (416 likes on Facebook). Mosaïque FM, the first private radio station in Tunisia, even contacted Nourhene to ask for an interview.
35-year old Jezia Nouma, who was born in Medenine in South-East Tunisia, was destined to become a teacher and housewife. She dreamed of becoming a lawyer so she could speak for others, but her mother, Masouda Nouma, enrolled her in an Italian course. "I hate Italian," jokes Jezia who completed her master's degree in 2010. In 2009, Jezia had a revelation off the back of an experience at Jektiss, an online radio station based in Medenine: she was made to be a journalist.
Since 2011, she has been working in this profession at Ulysse FM, a radio station based in Djerba, where she hosts and develops a programme called "Les ondes du matin" (Morning Waves) from 7–11am, Monday to Thursday. Following six months of local journalism training in Tunis in 2013-14, which was provided by CFI in partnership with the École Supérieure de Journalisme de Lille (School of Journalism in Lille, ESJ) and the Centre Africain de Perfectionnement des Journalistes et Communicateurs (African Centre for Training Journalists and Communicators, CAPJC), she went on to take part in a digital journalism programme from 2020 to 2022 with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), an American organisation.
"Jezia is a very talented investigative journalist who always applies what she has learned," explains Ahmed Kahleni, who works for IFES.
Don't give up
In January 2023, Jezia founded "Lella Media,", "La femme qui assure" (the female breadwinner), with technical and material support from Intajat Jadida, so that she could express herself and shine a spotlight on women who are bringing about change. She then created the "Saib Alik" series, which comprises eight storytelling episodes, each lasting seven minutes and posted on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
The pilot was awarded the Panel favourite award by the CFI panel on 12 June 2023.
Little by little, Jezia is showing exactly what she was made for. Having been left by a previous partner because, in her words, "he didn't like that women could be journalists", Jezia is now married to fellow journalist Haythem Mahdhi, who edits the videos for "Saib Alik". He commented on the radio that "Jezia is someone who loves to talk about others. She is highly professional, and in touch with her emotions. She is funny and spontaneous".
Subsequent episodes of "Saib Alik" will introduce us to welder Khouloud Katrou, and to three Tunisian women working as a mechanic, a fisherwoman and a boat guide. All strong women who have decided not to give up.