El-melhfa is a four-meter long by one-meter wide piece of fabric. It is not any ordinary piece of cloth; it is the symbol of the Saharawi heritage, beauty, and resistance.
Many people may view it as a religious, specifically Muslim symbol. But El-melhfa, above all, is cultural and unique to the Saharawi people, used by every ethnic and religious groups within the Saharawi population. It comes in variety of colors, patterns and materials. It can be one color, three or ten. It may be simple or with artistic shapes and patterns or even with the flag of Western Sahara. El-melhfa has different names depending on the colors and the material it is made of. Sometimes, it gets its name from the age group of women.
This article is available in full on: