Rachida Brakni: “My father provided me with fuel that continues to propel me”

Former resident of the Comédie-Française, actress, director, singer, Rachida Brakni, 47, publishes Kaddour (Stock, 198 pages, 19.50 euros), a book where she evokes her Algerian father, who died in August 2020, who, after a life of work in France, wanted to be buried in Algeria, he who had always dreamed of an improbable return.

I wouldn’t have gotten here if…

…If my father, in a line that continues to amaze me, had not given me a passport to freedom.

Tell us!

I was around 12 years old, I had come home from school after chatting with friends when a neighbor from the city rang the doorbell. “I must warn you, Mr. Brakni. I saw your daughter with some boys. Now you know how people are slanderers. They’re going to gossip and I’d be sorry if your family’s reputation is damaged. It is for your own good that I warn you. ” The witch ! I listened to her pour out her gall behind my half-open bedroom door, anxious about what my father would say.

He observed a silence that seemed interminable to me. And he said, “I don’t know what girl you’re talking about.” I only have boys. » Then he slammed the door in her face.

A disconcerting response to say the least. How did you interpret it?

At the time, I said to myself: “He’s crazy!” I am indeed a girl! » As if his sentence was an insult to my gender. And then I understood that it was, on the contrary, about putting myself on an equal footing with the boys. To grant me the rights and freedoms. And that it was important that they leave me alone like they leave the boys alone. In fact, this sentence planted in me the conviction that I could do anything, undertake anything: I was a good man, I would not be afraid of anything.

She drugged you…

Certain sentences have this power. My father provided me with fuel that continues to propel me. Nothing, after this episode, could hinder my path. I went for it, come what may. I practiced athletics? I had to constantly push the limits of the stopwatch. I dreamed of becoming a lawyer? From the age of 14, I studied the penal code. I wanted to be an actress? So I decided that I would go to the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art. This sentence made that possible.

How to describe your family?

My parents were both born in Algeria. Orphaned at a very young age, my father was a street child and started working at the age of 7. Then he arrived in Marseille, at the age of 18, in 1955, did a bunch of jobs before getting his heavy goods vehicle license and settling in the Paris suburbs, where he met my mother, who was coming out of a painful marriage. . I believe they were a lifeline to each other. And I am the eldest of this union which produced three children. Neither could read or write, but they were convinced that school was their salvation. My mother, above all, insisted on the need to be independent and not owe anything to a man. “Study, earn your living, rely only on your own hands – she made the gesture of touching her forearms – and if a man bothers you, you can put his bags outside. »

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