From bagging accolades since day one, to crediting the endless drive and pursuit of making this world a better place. We have not evidenced such a perseverance anytime soon, have you? 

Team Credits:
Talent: Sidi Massinissa @massinissadelrif @riftribes
Photographer: JB
Styling: Nikita Vlassenko @nikitavlk
Grooming: Alan Leal @alanleal.mua
Styling Assistant: Junior Cabral @jnrc_
Photo Assistant: Benjamin Gabet
Producer: Tala Barbotin Khalidy @tala.barbotinkhalidy

Entering an era of risk since the young age, our Hommes Cover Star of the December Issue, Sidi Massinissa is someone who shows how he has progressed beyond his roots. With an unending love for people and a deep passion for continued growth of his community, he has aced all facets of the world. Shattering glass ceilings and setting his own rules has been like his forever mantra. Having a conversation with him has been nothing short of inspirational. Spoiler Alert – It’s quite moving!

Exclusive Interview With Sidi Massinissa: The Avant-Garde Humanitarian!

Total Look: Maison Sara Chraibi @maisonsarachraibi

A very warm welcome to you! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you begin by telling us about your childhood and upbringing?

I was born in the small city of Al Hoceima, one of the most beautiful coastal sites in Morocco and home to a rich Amazigh tribal heritage. Until the age of three, I lived there with my family. Both of my parents are artists in the fields of music, poetry and literature; I get snapshots of my house in Morocco filled with guests from all over the art world having endless cups of tea and jam sessions.

At the age of three, I moved with my family to Europe. Although new countries meant new cultures, we have always made efforts to preserve our identity as Moroccans. I remember my parents telling me that my name was a way to make sure I never forget where I came from, no matter where I went. My name is in honour of our ancestor King Massinissa I of Numidia. At the end of the day, who are we without our history? Without our ancestors? Without our culture? We would just be a blank canvas. My family always raised me to love and praise my roots and learn about my people and their sacrifice for our land, which empowered me to start my journey as a humanitarian and activist.

Exclusive Interview With Sidi Massinissa: The Avant-Garde Humanitarian!

Dress: Ann Demeulemeester @anndemeulemeester_official
Skirt: Alain Paul @alainpaul

Share with us one or two life experiences that have mostly shaped who you are today.

The first would be the death of my late grandmother in 2022. She had always been a source of inspiration to me. Moroccan women have been the ones advancing society, art and culture, bringing up families and protecting our lands and rich heritage. They are resilient, driven and incredibly committed to the wellness of their community, a value that my grandmother always emphasized. She was the granddaughter of Amghar Mohammed Ameziane, Prince of the Rif, a tribal chief and the first anti-colonial leader of Morocco. He led countless battles against the Spanish Imperial Army and the Moroccans. And we honour the legacy and sacrifice of our ancestors everywhere we go, hoping that one day, we will make them proud.

The loss of a fundamental pillar in my life who taught me to commit to my land and people made me realize the importance of working every day to protect my heritage. It also reaffirmed my desire to honour Moroccan women, their strength and cultural, artistic and fashion traditions through my work.

The second would be when a small child of the Rif Mountains, who still lives in Morocco, once told me that his dream was to risk his life by trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea and make it into Europe. This is a common desire that I’ve heard among the current Moroccan youth.

The effects of Spanish and French colonization have deeply wounded the Rif Mountains during the 20th century. The mass use of chemical weapons on its inhabitants has caused the Rif to be one of the poorest, underrepresented and underdeveloped regions of Morocco. In fact, the Rif is the region with the most cancer cases in the entire Kingdom, leaving no option for the population, but to live with the disease, hoping that it won’t kill them.

I was always aware of that reality, but when I heard it come from someone so incredibly young, it touched me deeply, and I said to myself that I could not wait any longer to take action to help my people. Some months later, I started the process of building my foundation.

Exclusive Interview With Sidi Massinissa: The Avant-Garde Humanitarian!

Cape: Balmain @balmain
Jewellery: Family of the Rif

As you’re the founder and president of the Rif Tribes Foundation, we’d like to know when it was founded and what was its primary mission.

I created the Rif Tribes Foundation in 2022, intending to work hand-in-hand with the local tribes and authorities in order to create a better future, bring back hope to the region and create a Morocco where there is no need to leave to thrive. At Rif Tribes, my team and I work day and night in order to find new creative and avant-garde ideas that will provide bespoke short and long-term solutions to all Moroccans. We not only work to tackle the humanitarian and development crisis in the Kingdom but simultaneously promote our traditional indigenous art and culture internationally. Everything I do is to bring back hope to my people and, most importantly, with the goal that one day they will be able to not only thrive but believe they are worthy of a good future and that it is near.

What’s the most interesting discovery you’ve made since you started leading your organization?

Initially, we started the Foundation with the typical standardized rule book on how to do humanitarian work. But we quickly realised that it was not only one of the reasons for little progress, but also that we needed more time to make things the way we had always made them. I went back for guidance from my family and realized the solution was to be as creative as possible. Shortly after that, the Rif Tribes Foundation became one of the most successful charities in Morocco because of our work with high fashion and art houses.

Exclusive Interview With Sidi Massinissa: The Avant-Garde Humanitarian!





Total Look: Ann Demeulemeester @anndemeulemeester_official

Which approaches do you believe will continue to hold a significant value in your work? And what needs to be updated?

I have been really blessed with an incredible team and great support from people all over the world. My only wish and message that I reiterate everywhere I go is that art is the most powerful force of change. If all of us are involved in art, fashion, entertainment and so on and do everything we can to ensure our work is impactful for those not as privileged as us, we can make miracles happen. Really, I believe in that!

It’s very astonishing how foundations rarely recognize that the people they work with are the ones with the most at stake. What do you see in terms of risk tolerance in the near future?

It is, in fact, quite astonishing and daunting to see how disconnected some charities and even governments are from the communities that they serve. It is as worrying as to say that they simply do not know the people they are trying to help.

My Foundation has, since its creation, been working on the ground, establishing a relationship with the communities and gathering data. We are a group of predominantly indigenous people working to uplift our kingdom. An element that is also, unfortunately, lacking in similar contexts and one in which we take huge pride.

Before we do anything, we ask for the blessing and support of the communities we are assisting and have them involved in every step along the way. I believe that by working in this way, we can beautifully heal wounds and create an exciting future.


Exclusive Interview With Sidi Massinissa: The Avant-Garde Humanitarian!

Total Look: Balmain @balmain

We’re already at the end of this year; please shed light on the accomplishments you are most proud of that have taken place in the present year.

As many of you will remember, on September 8th, the Kingdom of Morocco suffered from one of the most devastating earthquakes of its recent history, resulting in the death of almost 3,000 people. Rural areas in the Atlas Mountains were the most affected, and their complicated geographic position made it difficult for relief teams to reach them. That is why I am proud of the amazing team at the Foundation for having put together one of the most effective relief missions in response to the earthquake, helping hundreds of families living in isolated mountainous towns.

In 2004, in Al Hoceima, the city where I was born, a very similar earthquake took place, and my family were among some people involved in the earthquake response and relief efforts. It is interesting to see how, two decades later, I find myself doing the same thing as my family was involved in generation after generation. I am particularly proud of this achievement because it resulted from a campaign alongside several Moroccan and international artists who sold their pictures, paintings, pottery, and other forms of art for our cause – showing that art can move mountains.

Exclusive Interview With Sidi Massinissa: The Avant-Garde Humanitarian!

Total Look: Alain Paul @alainpaul

What are three actions anyone could take to help address the root cause of the problem you’re trying to solve?

Self-education: People can use the educational resources we provide on our website, social media and appearances to educate themselves about the history of Morocco’s indigenous people, heritage and current issues.

Give visibility: People can also share these resources with their loved ones, as well as through their social media platforms, in order to increase the visibility of our people so that they don’t forget us.

If you are an artist or creative, you can reach out to our team and see how we can all collaborate together, as art is a very powerful tool for positive change. In fact, our Foundation organized one of the biggest fundraising campaigns to respond to the latest earthquake alongside Moroccan artists worldwide. All thanks to them, as through their help, we could travel to the Atlas to help thousands of families in the most isolated villages.

My vision as a President of the Rif Tribes Foundation is to connect the art, fashion and entertainment world with humanitarian issues and the public good. To use not only their wealth but also their enormous influence worldwide to uplift Moroccan rural communities themselves and their art.

Exclusive Interview With Sidi Massinissa: The Avant-Garde Humanitarian!

Total Look: Balmain @balmain

Lastly, we wish you continued success and wellness. All our readers just love the way you are. Is there anything you want to say to them?

I simply want to share a message of hope and love. We are living in very hard and dark times worldwide right now, which sometimes can cause us to be negative and often harsh with ourselves. I wish for everyone to be as kind as they can be to themselves, to love themselves incredibly and never forget that everything, really everything, regardless of the circumstances, is possible.