Saïda Sassi

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Saïda Sassi
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DiedJuly 25, 2007(2007-07-25) (aged 85–86)
Other namesTunisia

Saïda Sassi born in 1921 in Monastir and passed away on July 25, 2007, is a Tunisian politician. She is known to be the niece and right-hand man of President of Tunisia Habib Bourguiba during his tenure from 1957 to 1987.


Youth and early life

Saïda Sassi, born in 1921 in Monastir, is an orphan of father by a young age of six and raised by her uncle, Habib Bourguiba[1]. Not having been able to invest in her studies, she only obtained a study certificate[1].

After the independence of Tunisia and the accession of her uncle to the Presidency of Tunisia, she entered Carthage Palace since Bourguiba asked her to live there with her husband[1]. She quickly assumed important functions and was responsible for monitoring the health of the president.


Saïda Sassi is one of the pioneers in the struggle for the independence of Tunisia and for the emancipation of women[1].

With her arrival in Carthage, she quickly became the pillar of the presidential palace and succeeded in influencing her uncle, President Bourguiba. Its role is to ensure its safety; she even slept for over thirty years next to his bed[1].

Considered as the «first bisexual lady »[1], she is also considered as the source of possible political conspiracies[2] . She is responsible for maintaining the good image of her uncle by informing Tunisians that the president is more resistant than the media would sometimes expose him to be[2].

Private life

Relationship with Habib Bourguiba

Saïda Sassi's relationship with the president leaves no room for doubt that she is his favorite niece.

Originally from Monastir like him, they have very strong ties and she plays an ambiguous role in the presidential palace[2]. She thus allows herself to interfere in the president's sexual life by recruiting young and pretty women for him[3].

Bourguiba devotes a lot of time to her and spends almost all his days in her company, after brief meetings with political figures[2]. After being dismissed in 1987 for senility by his Prime Minister, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Bourguiba left power and was transferred to the state residence of Mornag[1]. Sassi remained loyal to him and continued to visit him until she moves to Paris and the transfer of the former president to his hometown Monastir[1].

Relationship with Wassila Bourguiba

The relationship between Saïda Sassi and the First lady and wife of the President, Wassila Bourguiba, is very tense since the influential niece has the right to sleep at her uncle's bedside and have her say in all his affairs, while Wassila Bourguiba , which has its own apartments, is sidelined[2].

In 1986, this rivalry ends with the divorce of Habib Bourguiba and Wassila Bourguiba[2][1].

End of life

After Habib Bourguiba left power in 1987, Saïda Sassi decided to settle a year later in Paris[1]. In 1995, she discovered that she had Alzheimer's disease[1]. She then returns to her native country and ends her days there, before passing away on July 25, 2007[1].

Her funeral at the Jellaz Cemetery does not bear witness to her good relationship with the Tunisian people since only a few relatives and friends pay her a final tribute[1].


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 "Saïda Sassi n'est plus – Jeune Afrique". (in français). 2007-07-30. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Orgambides, Fernando (1987-11-12). "Saida Sassi". El País (in español). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  3. "BOURGUIBA DEVENU L'OMBRE DE LUI-MÊME, ENTOURÉ DE COMPLOTEURS. REPORTAGE". Journalisme pensif (in français). 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2021-02-26.

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