The “Garden of Africa” was officially inaugurated on Wednesday 9 June in Zarzis in the presence of Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO. Designed and financed by the famous Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi, the cemetery already has more than 200 graves of ‘unrecognized’ migrants whose bodies were found on the beaches of Zarzis, in southern Tunisia.
In a statement to AFP, Rachid Koraichi said “I wanted to give… a first taste of paradise” to those who “faced the Sahara, gangsters, terrorists, sometimes torture, or shipwreck.” The artist added that “given what the sea brings… it is clear that this cemetery will be full in a short time.”
In 2017, Chamssedine Marzouk, a former Tunisian fisherman, also built the “Cemetery of the Unknowns” in the same town. Located less than a kilometre from the “Garden of Africa,” the old cemetery has more than 500 graves.
Since the beginning of the year, 640 migrants have died in the central Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).