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Task 3:Tell us: If you could travel to Africa (for those living on the African continent: to a part of Africa that you don’t know yet): Where would you want to go?

 

Africa doesn't call to me. Everything I've read about it tells me it's not my kind of place.

 

I've only ever been to South Africa and that was for a few weeks on a consulting project and it didn't change my mind. Everyone was very nice to me but it was the most alien place I've ever worked.

 

Yet there is one place that intrigues me, partly because it sounds like something out of Science Fiction or Fantasy and partly because it shows a very different way of looking at the world: the city of Melilla.

 

Melilla is on the north coast of Africa but is part of Spain. It's not a colony. It's been part of Spain since the fourteenth century, longer than parts of northern Spain and has the same rights as other parts of Spain. It's that thing that we keep reading about in certain kinds of fiction - a Free Port that is centuries old and has a cultural background that is part Spanish, part Berber, part Jewish and part Hindu.

 

In visiting southern Spain, I've been fascinated by the cities and ports that were created or managed by the Moors. They often succeeded in being multicultural, prosperous and peaceful for long periods of time. I'd like to see how a living breathing version of that mix works today.

 

Melilla has a pretty tourist face that draws on all sides of its background

 

Melilla-port

1200px-Sagrado_Corazón,_iglesia_principal_de_Melilla

Melilla-ES

 

It also has its troubles. It's claimed by Morocco. It has become a stress point for Europe's struggle with the wave of people trying to leave Africa for a new life and so has acquired a Border Wall and regular conflicts between the Border Force and people wanting to head north.

 

Border-attempt-Mellila