North African Cultures in Perspective
North Africa, composed of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, is a region in the midst of major transition. Long ruled by brutal local dictators, in 2011 several of those nations threw out their unpopular rulers and demanded the institution of democracy. Meanwhile, most young North Africans are far better educated than they were only a few decades ago. They study hard, hoping to scoop up high-paying jobs. The Egyptians, Libyans, and other North Africans are therefore pushing for better, brighter futures. At the same time, however, many aspects of their culture remain rooted in tradition. Among these are family and gender roles, religious and marriage customs, and traditional foods and folk music. As a result, North African culture remains old-world, charming, and even quaint, while its politics, education, and finances keep pace with the fast-changing outside world.