ALCASA End-Of-Year Celebration, Sunday 17/12/2017

We are holding the ALCASA End Of Year celebration on Sunday 17/12/2017.

We will start our sessions with the ALCASA Children’s Group graduation party from 1:30 to 3:00 pm including an afternoon tea (bring something to share).

From 3:00 to 4:00 pm, we are delighted to present our very special guest Abdul Nanou. Abdul is an accomplished violinist who will be showcasing the violin in Arabic music while playing well known songs by famous Arabic stars such as Fairouz, Sayed Makkawi and Sabah Fakhre.

ALCASA Language Exchange group will hold their conversation session from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.

Participation is by invitation only, send us a personal message on Arabic In Adelaide if you wish to take part of this creative music experience.

ALCASA Tea Making Workshop, August 2017

If you missed out on our August session, you missed a most entertaining and delightful experience. Who would have thought that making a cup of tea could be so interesting? Like many Australians, I usually make my cup of tea with a tea bag, add boiling water, jiggle the bag a bit and remove it – nothing special. By contrast, the Tea Making Workshop showed us the intricacies of making tea the Moroccan and Iraqi way. Volunteering their services to entertain and inform us for the afternoon were Mohamed (Marrakesh Restaurant in O’Connell Street, North Adelaide), May (Marion Migrant Women’s Group) and Alex Hadchiti, a talented South Australian-Lebanese musician.

Mohamed was resplendent in his traditional Moroccan dress. A tall, striking figure with a wonderful head of curly, black hair. Meanwhile, the mood was relaxed with Alex playing his keyboard and singing a mixture of Arabic and other popular songs. Soon those attending were starting to dance and sing along too. It was great to see the children dancing around the room and I was encouraged by Zain to join in a dabke dance. I need to work on that a bit!

Then, of course, we got down to the serious business of making tea. From behind the beautifully set table with rich tablecloth, shiny metal teapots and exquisite coloured tea glasses, Mohamed demonstrated the Moroccan tea-making ritual. Moroccans drink around 6-7 small cups of this sweet tea every day. Mohammed used one of the most popular loose green teas from Morocco – gunpowder tea. Amusingly, we learned about his friend who was arrested at London airport with a box of the tea in his luggage. All the writing on the box was in Arabic, other than the word “gunpowder”!

This is my memory of instructions. Once the loose tea is in the teapot, it is covered with boiling water and rinsed to remove any dust powder which clouds the tea. Then sugar and hot water are added, after which it is brought to boil on the stove for 3-5 minutes. Add a generous amount of mint to the top of the teapot but do not stir in – no spoon is allowed in the pot as the metal changes the flavour of the tea. Pour tea into glasses from a height and then put back into the pot – do this 3-5 times. Then pour tea from a height and gradually get higher and higher. The tea should have a froth on it. Mint leaves can be added if desired. It is considered extremely rude to refuse the offer of tea in Morocco. You can accept it and not drink it if you wish but never refuse it. But why would you refuse? It is delicious!
    Next, May demonstrated the Iraqi method. Loose black leaf tea is put in a special pot which has a kettle on the bottom and the tea pot on top. May also added cardamom pods, but it could have been plain or with other herbs. The tea is brewed on the stove for 5-10 minutes, over the kettle which is effectively a steamer. The special pot is called a قوري (qoorie) and the tea is then poured into special little decorative glass cups and saucers called إِسْتكان (istikaan). The sugar goes in the cup first and the tea is added to the line on the rim. Stir with a special spoon and hear the “voice” – tinkle, tinkle. An important ritual!

Again, this was excellent tea, and it is used extensively in Iraq to soothe nerves, improve the mood or simply to enjoy any time.
Here is a picture of a typical Iraqi tea glass and saucer with spoon.
All in all, in was a most enjoyable afternoon with a bit of a party atmosphere.


Thank you so much to Mohamed, May and Alex – also to Minerva for making the arrangements.

Sue Young

Photos courtesy of Ahmed Khalidi, Hafiz Nasir, Massimilio Gugole and Doris Abboud

Note: All ALCASA 2017 events are supported by  the Minister of Multicultural Affairs, South Australian Government.




ALCASA Cultural Workshop, July 2017: Exploring Culture and Identity through Visual Arts and Design

On the 16th July 2017, ALCASA welcomed over 40 members and other interested members of the public to an amazing artistic experience devoted to exploring culture and identity through visual arts and design.

The workshop saw Ahmed El Khalidi, artistic director of Yadura Designs, facilitate a 2 hour creative art and design workshop supporting participants to explore ways to express culture and identity creatively through art.

Ahmed opened the session with a presentation exploring the complex concept of ‘Home’ and what ‘home’ means to different people. Ahmed shared his personal story about home and the complexity of him being born and raised in another country and his daughter being born in Australia. Participants where then encouraged to share their own personal stories and discuss how they defined ‘home’.

It was warming to hear a broad cross-section of people from different cultures and backgrounds sharing their personal stories and bridging the gap between culture and identity. Most participants described home as being somewhere that is safe, where you feel comfortable, loved and relaxed; but interestingly we considered whether we could have two homes… is home where you are now, is home really where the heart is?

Artistic resources were provided at the workshop, and individuals and families were encouraged to bring items of personal value that they may like to incorporate into their final resolved piece. These included photos, memorabilia and Arabesque designs to be part of their artwork. It was fantastic to see so young and old expressing their creativity an artistic talent and we were all so surprised and excited about everybody’s final design. It was obvious that all participants enjoyed themselves, and although we stopped for Arabic coffee and sweets, the session ran way overtime and we couldn’t get people to stop painting and creating.

We are very proud of the final products; please have a look at some images  of the session.

Hassan Mekawy






Sunday 21/05/2017, “dabke” cultural workshop

What a great afternoon we had during the ALCASA meetings on Sunday 21/5/2017.  About 50 people attended the sessions for Arabic story reading, “dabke” workshop and Arabic informal conversation.

We started with the Children’s Group and Arabic story reading. The children listened and enacted a story about a “scary” hedgehog قنفذ who was desperate to make friends with other animals. The story allowed exploring the theme of friendship and helped to learn plural forms for certain Arabic words. The story reading session was complemented by fun craft activities in making hedgehogs قنافذ then by some group games  providing opportunities to hear and use again the new words learnt during reading time. There were also hedgehogs قنافذ on the afternoon tea menu! Many thanks to the talented and creative Nadia who organised and led the reading session.

The highlight of the day was, of course, with the ALCASA Dabke Cultural Workshop provided by the local group Zaffit SA. The group dance dabke or dabka is quite popular throughout the Middle East. Usually, it is performed by men and women as a line dance at weddings, parties and community celebrations. Dancers hold hands and move in a rotating circle. It is a proud, energetic and joyful group dance enjoyed by all ages.

During the workshop, four amazing performers from Zaffit SA, helped us, the budding dabke dancers, to learn sophisticated steps and to practice more simple familiar ones. It was  lots of fun and we finished the session wanting to learn and practice more.

Watch this amazing video capturing the spirit of the workshop!

As usual, we ended the afternoon by the Arabic conversation time in the ALCASA Language Exchange group. Many thanks to Doris, Hanaa and Leila who helped to support the conversation in Arabic.

We look forward to seeing everyone again at the movies with the  screening of On the banks of the Tigris: the hidden story of the Iraqi music on Saturday 10 June at Mercury cinema.

Fayrouz Ajaka

Note: All ALCASA 2017 events are supported by  the Minister of Multicultural Affairs, South Australian Government.




ALCASA on Sunday 19 March 2017

The children had an enjoyable time painting their fruit clay creations followed by a story telling
session by Zain about a group of animals and a carrot.

We had a few new children and I’m glad to see everyone introduced themselves and learned a little more about each other like whether they liked the owl (بومة) or the rabbit (أرنب)!

I can’t help but be amused as the children acted out verbs like pulling or jumping to help them learn into their memory and to understand. Thanks to Hassan for taking the children through the charade game.

This was followed by a handwriting practice session. It was good to see the children practise writing in Arabic some of the words they learned during the session.

We were all pleased to have watched a short solo play by Moris who acted out the little story crafted by young Salma, a member of the ALCASA Children’s Group. It was a short story about a little bug who ate all the leaves and grew fat!

Then we had an Arabic calligraphy workshop where we welcomed Safaa AlKhazraji, a talented calligrapher from Iraq. He has been here in Australia since 2001. Safaa says that as a young boy he had already found his passion!

Safaa first explained how he uses the reed to draw, and how the tip of the reed is shaped. He explained that each letter must be drawn proportionally according to certain lengths.

He drew the word ‘Al Insaan’ (The Human) and then demonstrated how he transfers the intricate patterns to decorate his work.

Of course, Arabic calligraphy is an art and has a rich history behind it and so there is of course a variety of how they can look like!

We thank Safaa for his time and sharing his passion with us!

Following the workshop, we had our conversation practice with native speakers. We worked on role plays which allowed some learners to practise telling recent past events (Advanced and Intermediate 2 levels). Others practiced self introduction and describing their families.

A big thank you to the ALCASA volunteer native speakers, for coming along and offering your time and skills to help non-native speakers learn the Arabic language!

Finally I want to say we welcome Arabic speaking families to join the children’s session. We certainly welcome the public to join our cultural workshops. Please check out our Eventbrite page for future workshops

And of course, if you’re interested to learn the Arabic language, get in touch with us!

Hafiz Abdul Nasir

ALCASA Arabic Cultural Workshops

In 2016, ALCASA has been proud to expand its monthly conversations sessions to include Arabic Cultural Workshops for our members and members of the general public. Four of our most popular workshops so far, drew over 150 combined guests from a diverse mix of cultural backgrounds.

The cultural workshops support ALCASA’s mission to actively promote harmony, cultural awareness, and respect for cultural diversity by providing opportunities for South Australians of Arabic and non-Arabic backgrounds to celebrate the best of the Middle East.

In April this year, adults and children get together to explore a range of traditional board games from backgammon طاولة الزهر, to chess شطرنج, cards لعب الورق, barjees برجيس, knuckles الزقطة أو الزواقيط and some other popular games.

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In June, we enjoyed the musical talents of Charlie Yarak, a local musician and teacher. Charlie inspired the audience by showcasing the history and melody of a large range of traditional Arabic instruments. In July, we held an engaging and invigorating Arabic Dance workshop facilitated by the world-renowned Nayima Hassan. Nayima took adults and children through some basic dance moves and impressed the audience with some complex belly dancing involving scarves and swords.


In September, the ALCASA committee was overwhelmed by the communities response to our invitation to the ‘Arabic Delights’ workshop. Over 50 participants were able to sample the most delicious sweet and savoury treats from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen.  The Adelaide City Council Minor Works building was filled with the amazing aroma, colour and flavour of food donated and made by committee members, family and friends.

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We are looking forward to a fun interactive presentation to be held on Sunday 20 November about the traditional Arabic clothing with Dr Minerva Nasser-Eddine, Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide and Liaison Officer at the Lebanese Emigration Research Center in Lebanon.

It has been really rewarding to see a community share and celebrate in our rich cultural history and traditions. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm and we look forward to offering a wide range on cultural workshops.

Please visit our eventbrite page for the next scheduled cultural presentations (

Hassan Mekawy