• Badriyah

Naima: "I saw death with my own eyes”

This article was written by Naima Akef herself and it was published in El-Etnain Wal Dunya Magazine on January 12th, 1953. The translation from Arabic to English was kindly provided by Karolina Sharqi & Basma Alsawalhi. The article was accompanied by one photo that you can see below.



The star Naima Aakef

"I saw death with my own eyes.”



These are some of the dangers that I encountered while death was flying around me. The dangers that did not involve death, but did involve shocks, wounds and bruises are too many to mention.


I got exposed to death more than one time when I was young. Especially during the aerobic type of leaps in the air. I once lost my balance during a jump at a height of two meters and fell to the ground. When I tried to stand up, I couldn't and I started to lose consciousness while the sound of clapping and cheering audience was ringing in my ears. The following two months were dedicated to bedrest and recovery.


One time during my recent appearance in a movie, they came to me with an elephant saying that I will be riding it and having it with me in one of the scenes. It took a lot of effort, as I had to tame the elephant, make the elephant trust and like me.

After playing, feeding and riding the elephant, I got off in order to continue performing for my scene but the elephant suddenly screamed and refused that I take any step away from him.

The elephant wanted me to continue feeding him and he stretched out his trunk in my direction and while I was on the floor tried to wrap me with his trunk. I tried to get away but he caught the end of my dress. It was a terrifying situation for everyone in the studio. They were all, including his tamer, running towards me to help me and free me from the elephant. Miraculously I was saved and the scene was captured.


In one of my movies, we were in Semouha Square in Alexandria for a horse racing scene. I had to not only ride but also race with a horse. They ended up bringing me an untamed horse and it wasn’t until I rode it and it got wild, and began to race with the wind, that I thought I was doomed with no chance of getting out of this. Especially when I heard the shouting of the two horsemen behind me who were following me and attempting to save me.

I freaked out even more when I saw one of them falling off of his horse and getting badly injured.

Were it not for my efforts to maintain my balance and my nerve, I would have been dead that day. But I did not die, thanks to the knight that was following me and caught me after extreme effort.


One of my roles and scenes, required my colleague (Hassan Fayeq) to hide me so that “the Pasha”, who entered the room suddenly, can’t see me. So my colleague Hassan, God forgive him, held me with his hands and hung me in the air outside of the balcony, but soon his strength waned and I fell out of the grip of his hands into three meters depths below me. It was a height that was possible to jump off from if one were just prepared to do so, but it wasn't expected, and my harsh landing onto the ground almost broke all of my bones.


Naima Akef


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