Dr. Abdulbasir Ahmad Atuwo
Department of Nigerian Languages
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
GSM: +227032492269

Being Paper Presented at International Conference Titled Cultural Diversity and National/Regional identity in the 21st Century at Abdoumoumini University, Niamey Niger from 2-3 June 2016.


Hausa man has excelled himself so unique positions among his counter parts in world communities. Hausa people are known of their prominence in language, trade and industries, administration, politics, business, festivals and other unique occupations that are only found among Hausa communities. Despite the fact that every community in West Africa has its own peculiar features, behaviors, characters, culture, manners, language that can be identified with them ; Hausa communities too have their own peculiarities that can even be traced through various aspects of their oral or written folklore. This paper intends to use Hausa prose fiction in tracing and identifying Hausa man. While the paper however analyzed the challenges faced by this effort in the contemporary fictions it however brought solution to the challenges.

1.0 Introduction

Hausa man has excelled himself in the word different dimensions of human endeavors. He is known for his truthfulness, he popular due to his unique conducts of life. He is however widely exposed in trade due to his commitment to trade, search for knowledge, war, aids and other services. Hausa man is widely pronounced in modern sciences, international academics excellence and political reputation.
This paper use names of characters and towns, respect for marriage and families, scholarship, courage and determination, warrior as few factors that are dipected in identifying Hausa man within the scope of 1933 and 1980 Hausa Literary Prose competition organized by Northern Nigeria Publishing company and Federal Ministry of culture respectively.

1.1 Who are the Hausa People?

This question, deserves a paper of its self and unique forum for presentation but Bunza, (2015: 2-3) gathered all the opinion of international scholars in history. Like Smith (1966) who wrote on five Hausa Kingdoms Daura, Kano, Zazzau, Sokoto, Katsina. Nadama, (1977) talked on Zamfara. Usman (1968) worked on Katsina. Augie, (1984) did work on Gobir. Alkali (1968) wrote on Kabawa. while Mahdi Adamu (1968) did his work on Yawuri. With reference to the above scholars, Bunza (2015) maintained this opinion with regard to who are Hausa people.
Hausawa su ne mutanen da suka tsira qasar Hausa. Tarihinsu, da na kakanninsu, bai tsallake farfajiyar qasar Hausa ba. Ba su harshen gado face Hausa. Al’adunsu da xabi’unsu Hausantattu ne gaba da baya. Bugun gaba da harshe, da al’adun Hausawa, da qasar Hausa, babbar hujja ce, ta Hausanta da Hausawa. Samunsu baqaqe ko wankan darza, da matsakaicin zati, da baqin gashi wulit! Mai kauri, gajere, kakkausa, da faxin da kaurin hanci da lavva, wani cikon sunna ne makaho da waiwaya. Idan sun yi magana lafazin yi canja rassa da xaya daga cikin kare-karen lafuzan harshen Hausa. An yi tangam mai zuwa hajji ya gamu da Annabi (SAW). Mai waxannan sifofi shi ne Bahaushe, zuriyar da tsiro a ciki su ne Hausawa. Hulxarsu ta cuxexeniyarsu da maqwabtansu ta haifar da birmagiman hankaka da barbaran yanyawa, da Bahaushe ya raxa wa rawani. “Kaka-gida”.
“Hausa people were the people that originates in Hausaland, they have no other language other than Hausa their history and history of their decedents remained within Hausaland. Their mother tongue is Hausa. Their cultural heritage were Hausanized. Their black colour and moderate light complexity, black and coined hair, wide face, hucked nose and heavy lips have indicated typical nature of Hausa man. Their speeches complemented the representations of different dialects in Hausa language. Anybody who possessed these physical features can be regarded as Hausa man. His people can be regarded as Hausa people. Interaction of Hausa people with their neighbors have facilitated cross breeding in Hausa community”.
The brave nature of Hausa people influenced the establishment of different empires or kingdoms as earlier indicated by scholars. These empires produced many courageous warriors and commanders such as Qaura Hansau at Maraxi, Xanwaire at Katsina, Jarmai at Kano, Amadu at Damagaram Tagwai Dutse at Zazzau, Maiturare at Sakkwato, Magaji Xan Yamusa at Keffi, Sama at Argungu, Hassan and his son Jinfi at Kontagora, Magajin Tegina at Kagara and many others. They were all popular commanders in different parts of Hausaland, this was also identified in Kagara, (1968:3).

2.0 Names In Identification

Names are used to identify persons, places, animals or objects. Names in prose are very vital and useful in identifying characters and scenes. Hausa names in Hausa Prose are used differently. In 1933 and 1980 Prose competition two types of Hausa names were used to identify Hausa characters either Islamically, recognized names like Abubakar, Umar, Abdullahi, Aisha e.t.c. Or Hausa traditional names like Xanlami, Ciwake, Tamodi or Tallo. In Kano Literary Market (Adabin Kasuwar Kano), names of characters could be combination of English and Hausa or English abbreviation. All these categories assist reader in identifying who is Hausa character and who is not, in a given scene.
In Imam, (1934:1), the book “Ruwan Bagaja ” began with the introduction of story teller Koje the word is Hausa word referring to one specie of noisy bird.
In Gagare, (2002:1) “Qarshen Alewa Qasa” was introduced with slogan of announcement in a typical Hausa community mixed with the sound of Kuge and announcement to the youths of Tsaunin Gwano to prepare for the arrival of hunting. The youth sitting at the discussion point were Hantsi and Mailoma during the announcement by Audun Makeri.
How the page identified the names:
Tin qwal, Tin qwal, qwal!
Tin qwal, Tin qwal qwal …
“Mai yin shale ya bar kaxa kugensa domin ya yi jawabi a wani xan lungu da ya shigo. Ya kafa hannu a baki ya yi kira, Hyai, Hyai! Ina mazajen Tsaunin Gwano? Sarkin qira ya gaishe ku. Bayan gaisuwa ya ce a faxa muku lokaci ya yi wanda duk ke ji da kansa ya shirya.” (Gagare, 2002:1)


“Town crier stoped, beating his kuge to deliver the message at one of the streets, he placed his palm on his mouth and made a call: Hyai, Hyai! Ina mazajen Tsaunin Gwano? Sarkin qira greats you. After greetings, Head of Smith extends his greetings to you. After greetings he said all the brave youth should be on the alert”.
Apart from the name “Tsaunin Gwano” that signified real Hausa traditional name of the town, one can also identify other names in the following:
‘Hantsi ya ajiye qoqon da ya gama shan burkutu da shi ya yi wata doguwar miqa ya yi murmushi. To fa mutane, ga Audun Maqeri can yana buga kugen tasa. Ya ya ji ka Mailoma?” Wani saurayi da ake kira Mailoma yana zaune a kan wani buzu da aka yi da fatar biri ya miqo hannu suka tafa”. (Gagare, 2002:1)


Hantsi kept small container which he had just finished taking local alcohol . He made deep breathing and smiled, “Here we are gentleman that was Audun Maqeri with his Kuge. Yes Mailoma did you hear that. Mailoma, a young who was sitting on a monkey skin, he extended his hand to Hantsi and made a hand shake.
The names in the above texts identified Hausa traditional names. The monkey skin used by Mailoma as mat indicated another traditional hunting identity.
In Katsina, (1982:1) in his book “Zavi naka” introduced the book with the introduction of parents of author as “Haqurau” and Shiryayya . These two names however dipicted another Hausa traditional names which informed the reader that the character is Hausa, because the names of his parents are traditional Hausa names. On the other hand, one can identify names that are not Hausa in Hausa prose books. Names such as Chuks in (Gagare, 2002:177), Edward Markus Jojobijo in (Gagare, 2002:153), Sufeto Dodowis, (Gagare, 2002:262), though they are characters in Hausa Prose but their names are enough to inform reader that they are not Hausas.

3.0 Respect for Marriage and Quest for Children

Another factor of identification is respect for marriage and family. Must of the characters in Hausa Prose maintained high respect for marriage and quest for children. This is surrounded by different motives and agitations in life. The common principle among Hausa characters is to have somebody that can take over their legacies during their old age or after their death.
In Imam, (1933:30 when Koje finished narrating stories to his host, the host tookover by introducing himself and the challenges faced by his father during his life time.
“Na farko dai inji maigida, Sunana Alhaji Imam. Ubana kuwa babban malami ne na Sarkin Sudan. Sunansa Malam Na-Bakin-Kogi. Sai dai ya kai dattijo har ya fara tsufa, ba a tava ko vari ba gidansa. Abin ya dame shi qwarai. Ga wagagen littafai tuli, ba mai gado”.


‘In the first place said the host, my name is Imam. My father was great scholar close to Sarkin Sudan he name is Malam-Na-Nakin-Kogi. He is responsible person. Up to the time he was getting old he could not have a child. The problem that bothered him very much. He had a wide library but no one to inherit it.”
Even the main adventure of the book i.e. search for Water of Cure “Neman Ruwan Bagaja” was ignited by the king by asking his chief Imam to get the water to cure the illness of his son, the assignment which was takenover by his step son of the chief Imam Alhaji Imam.
Similarly, in Tafida and East, (1996:2) in their book “Jiki Magayi” one of the characters of the prose Malam Shaihu, the richest person in Birnin Galma had large sum of money, herds of cows and horses and many servants who looked after the wealth, but twenty years after marriage he could not have a child. As it appeared in one of the sub-heading of the book: “Bai Haihu Ba”
“Shekarunsa ashirin da yin aure, amma bai tava haihuwa ba. Ya yi aure da yawa, kullum gidansa ba a rasa matan aure huxu. Ya vatar da dukiya ba iyaka wajen malamai da bokaye da ‘yan bori garin neman maganin haihuwa, amma cikin matansa babu wadda ta tava ko vatan wata. Koyaushe idan ya tuna da wannan babbar hasara ta rashin xa sai ransa ya dugunzuma, ya dami dukan mutanen gidansa da faxace-faxace, wani lokaci ma ba mai ganinsa a waje tun safe har wajen la’asar, yana can cikin xakinsa yana roqon Allah. Allah ya biya masa buqatarsa. Koyaushe addu’arsa xaya ce. “Ya Ubangiji ka jiqaina ka ba ni xa ko da wane iri!”.


“Twenty years after his marriage, he could not get child. He made several marriages; one hardly finds less than four wives in his house. He spent alot of wealth to herbalists and others in quest for child, but there was nothing like miscarriage in his house. The problem always bothered him too much. Whenever he remember he became furious and trouble maker to the family. Sometimes, he remained indoor praying to God to give him child of any kind”.
Marriage and birth which served as pride to any Hausa man, was reflection, found in most of Hausa Prose. As indicated earlier, the pride was usually motivated by quests for inheritance and legacy takeover. This is however revealed in Kagara, (1968:8) in the book “Ganxoki” the brave character expressed pride and satisfaction inform of epithet for having a son that was warrior like him:
“Wanda duk ya ga Sarkin Yaqi Ganxoki ya san ba ni da na biyu a wannan zamani. Inda duk na cira qafa kuwa, nan Garba Gagare babban xana ke mayarwa. Sai kirari ake masa, “Gagare namijin Mala, xoki ba haye ba ne gado ne”.


Anybody that saw Ganxoki the king of war knows that he was the only one and no any other one in his time. Whenever I placed my feet, Garba Gagare my eldest son was behind me. People were praising him, Gagare the brave among brave men, war mongering was in your blood.

4.0 Respect for Leaders

Leadership in Hausa communities could be based on either traditional leadership or scholarship. Hausa communities, in most of their representations in prose appeared as respectful and loyal to their leaders, and the leaders have respect for their people. Sarki as the over role head also assigned other Sub-Sarkina to split and simplify responsibilities for himself, e.g. Sarkin Yaqi, Sarkin Gabas, Sarkin Yamma, Sarkin Kudu, Mai Arewa, Sarkin Kasuwa Sarkin Baqi, Sarkin Daji, Sarkin Jirgi/Ruwa, Sarkin Noma e.t.c. Once the leadership is mentioned in a story if is on Hausa one can easily identified. Sarki is usually surrounded by his wards who were also assigned to different responsibilities e.g. Sarkin Fada, Sarkin Zagi, Sarkin Bayi, Barga, Jakadiya e.t.c. The book “Ganxoki” by Kagara (1968:3) which was all about war, the story was introduced with heading “Labarin Da Sarki Yaqi Ganxoki Ya Faxi”. In Gwarzo, (1934:20) in a book “Idan Matambayi” he made mentioned
“Yana ta ja da baya suna binsa har ya samu dama ya zaro wuqa daga kube. Ya miqe ta a hannunusa. Sai Sarkin Gadi ya yi kusa da shi zai kama shi. Idon matambayi ya soke shi da wuqa a qahon zuci. Sai Sani ya faxi matacce sauran ‘yan gadi kuma suka yi ta gudu”.


He was drawing gently when his hand touched dagger and removed it from its cover. He stabbed at the head of vigilante on his chase. Sani failed dead. The remaining vigilante members run away.
The responsibility of Sarkin Gadi Sani was to ensure crime free society in their village which led to the lost of his life. The second aspect of this factor of identity in Hausa Prose is leadership in scholarship. Hausa people have displayed their prominence among their counterparts. E.g. in Bunza (2015:27) Sheikh Nasiru Kabara won the price of being the best Arabic language competition in Egypt by listing one hundred names of different horses in Arabic. Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gummi was the first black all over the world to won king Faisal Award of Makkah for his effort in developing Islam in the world. Sheikh Abdullahi Fodiyo and Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gummi were the first Black in the world to Translate Qur’an in Arabic. These translations are used in University syllabus in Azhar Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Another area of prominence was Hausa man who won the prize of first world competition of cramming Quran, its Arabic translation and its knowledge i.e. Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Ahmad, Daura.
This is why respect and loyalty for scholars among Hausa communities is very enomous, and its traces were found in their prose. In Tafawa Balewa, (1966:1) a book “Shaihu Umar these prominent identity has appeared as follows:
A kusa da Birnin Bauchi akwai wani xan gari ana kiransa Rauta. A cikin wannan xan gari ya kasance akwai wani malami ma’abucin hankali, masanin taurari da Alkur’ani da litattafai, kuma mariqin addini. Shi malamin nan yana cikin mutane na duniya waxanda Allah ya yi musu baiwa ta wajen fahimtar abubuwa. Sunansa Shaihu Umar. Saboda tsananin saninsa da kuma hankalinsa, har labarinsa ya isa qasashe masu nisa daga inda yake. Mutane suka yi ta fitowa daga qasashe, suna ta tahowa gare shi domin neman sani. Kafin a jima kaxan sai ya zama mutane da suke zuwa gare shi suka yi yawa, har suka rasa wajen yin gidaje, saboda haka ya zama tilas ga waxansu su nemi gidaje a cikin ‘yan qananan qauyuka na kusa da Rauta”.


“Very close to Bauchi, there was a village called Rauta. In this small village there was great Islamic scholar who was vastly knowledgeable in the areas of Austronomy, Qur’an and other areas of knowledge and committed in his religion. He was among the scholars that were blessed quick perception of worldly things. People became aware of him within shortest time. People started trooping in the village. To the extent the village could not contain them. They therefore had to extend to neighboring villages close to Rauta”.
However, other areas that could also be factors of identifying Hausa man in prose could be:
• Shyness
• Simplicity
• Humbleness
• Dress etc.

5.0 Challenges Ahead

The factors mentioned previously ware mostly found in 1933 and 1980 literary competition. The challenges were mostly found in Kano market literature (Adabin Kasuwar Kano). This paper analyzed the challenges ahead of this aspect particularly in this contemporary time. The emergence of Kano literature market in 1984 started with the pioneering authoring as follows:
i. Rabin Raina Littafi na Xaya (1984) by Talatu Wada Ahmad.
ii. Soyayya Gamon Jini (1980) by Ibrahim Hamza Abdullahi.
iii. In da rai (1987) by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu.
iv. Kogin Soyayya (1988) by A.M. Zahrudeen.
v. Idan So Cuta Ne (1989) by Yusuf M. Adamu.
As one can observe, themes of books all were on love, marriage and divorce and related problems surrounding them. More authors continued to emerge and more Association of publishers continued to flourished. The rampant publications by publishers necessitated and encouraged the Associations authors associations. Other authors in the 90th were Balkisu S.A.F., Zuwaira Isa, Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino, Balaraba Ramat Yakubu.
It was mentioned earlier that respect for marriage and his family were among the identifying factor of Hausa man in 1933 and 1980 prose. In the contrary approach most of the Kano Market Literature were on either love, abuse of love, violence, peaceful marriage, trouble marriage, divorce, unwanted pregnancy and hetres as indicated in Mukhtar (2002:29). This paper use some books authored by some popular writers as example. In her book “Mugun Zama” Bilkisu,(1999:47) one of the characters Umma bride of groom A.K. faced serious stigmatization in her groom’s house. A.K.’s mother mobilized other members of the family and ganged against Umma. Umma became frustrated and victimized in the house and A.K. This is part of the story:
“Akwai ranar da A.K. ya jure ya ce ai ke Umma me ya sa yanzu ba kya son shiga cikin mutanen gida? Haka nan kuma ko falo kika zo ba kya zama. Umma ta yi rau-rau da idanu, amma qwalla suka goce mata, to ko na shigo cikinsu ba bu mai kallo na. Idan na yi magana, ba za a tanka mini ba. Wani lokacin ma yadda ka san idan mutum ya doshi inda quda ya yayyave kashi. Za a tashi harr to haka ake yi mini. Ta share hawaye ta ce ni ban san laifin da na yi wa wani ba a gidan nan.”

“One day A.K. took the courage and asked her. You Umma, why are you avoiding people. You don’t even sit in the pallow? Umma tried to control tears full of her eyes but she could stop their flows. Even if I sit among them no one could look at My side not even talk to me, She said if I approach them, everybody will disperse away like birds, she responded cleared her tears I don’t know the offence I committed to anyone in this house”.
Stigmatization and frustation is against the identity of most of Hausa man. Ponogamy is a sign of being complete respectable in the community. A man to have grieve and control on his family is very important identity to man in Hausa community, because it showed a sign of protection to all members of his family against cheating or molestation like problem faced by Umma in A.K’s house. In Gidan Dabino, however (2005) his book “Duniya Sai Sannu”.
In this book, Jafaru who came to malam Isa scholar and chief of Imam of the town to seek for knowledge. Jafaru became most trusted person to malam Isa and his family among his circles, and finally offered Ruqayya his daughter for marriage to Jafaru. Unfortunately when Jafaru became wealthy and well established he married three more wives and divorced his first wife Ruqayya. These were the kind of challenging attitudes against the usual identity of Hausa man. Jafaru put Ruqayya in psychological violence by sending her to her parents and follow up with divorce letter, as indicated in this text:
“Bayan na sami mako xaya a gida, sai Alhaji Ja’afaru ya aiko direbansa da takarda ya sake ni, saki uku, bayan na shafe shekaru tara a gidansa. Da mahaifana suka ga abin da ke cikin takardar, ba bu abin da suka ce sai “Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un”.

One week after he sent me home Alhaji Ja’afar sent his driver along with divorce letter that he had divorce me three times after spending nine years in his house. When my parents saw the message, they prayed “From God (S.W.A.) we came and to Him we returns”.
This is a typical betrayal and abuse of trust by malam Jafaru that is against Hausa identity violate on marriage. In another book, Rahma, (2005:5) in her book “Hadari sa Gabanka”. In this book Rahma potrayed a violent action in the name of love. Faruk a leader of an Armed robbery gang fell in love with Nadiya a girl with responsible and wealthy family background not knowing the one she loved for marriage was armed robber. Nadiya’s mission was marriage but Faruk’s mission was to kill all her families and takeover her father’s wealth. Faruk’s succeeded in killing most of Nadiya’s members of her family. This was how he killed Kawu Mudi junior brother to Nadiya’s father, who also introduced Faruk to Nadiya not knowing he was he.
“Dena vata mini lokaci Kawu ina da aiki a gida. Kada ka damu ba za ka yi kewa da yawa ba, domin a danginku ba bu wanda ba zai zo wajen ka ba. Kwana kira sai ko Nadiya, domin in ba ta yi wata gada-gada ba domin hana ni mallake kuxin yayanka ba to zan ci gaba da son ta. Sannan ka sani duk wasu saqwannin wasiqu da na waya da ka yi wa yayanka ya zo wajena don haka in ka je lahira sai a kiyaye kada a ba za hali, Mahmud bai daina roqo cikin kuka ba sai da ya ji harsasai ba iyaka a cikinsa sannan kafar da ido a zare ya buxe baki”.

“Stop wasting your time Uncle I have many things to do. You will not be alone; all your brothers will meet you soon with exception of Nadiya. If she didn’t block my chance of inheriting your brothers wealth. I will continue to love her. Take note all the messages you sent to your brother were with me. If you die you will not do that anymore. Mahmud continued to beg while crying until he started receiving spray bullet on his chase until he die.”

7.0 Solution to the contemporary challenges

Solution to the challenges raised previously could be tackled in following approaches
1. Religious Approach: This approach requires involvement of Imams and church prists to raise the issue of maintaining sanity and decency among Hausa prose authors in their preaching and sermons. They should also be required to in inculcate moral and religious teachings in their books.

2. Educational Approach : Another approach is on educational dimension, intellectual forums such as seminars, symposiums, conferences should be organised purposely to sensitize authors of Hausa prose to ensure sanity and decent roles of characters and use of contemporary themes and styles.

3. Home Background Approach: Home training plays very important role in the making of one’s life style, which also influence the line of thinking a person. There is need for parents to ensure proper home training for their children, these will assist in not only imparting decency Hausa prose but will also help in solving many societal problems

8.0 Findings of the Paper

Findings of this paper are as follows:
1. Self Publishers: The impact of globalization has brought sophistication in love affairs among people in the world, including the Hausa communities who are also part of world. The first generation of authors mostly wrote their books under competition and edited under care of Northern Nigeria publishing company. While the modern author’s managed their own publishing companies under their care. Therefore, the decency in their publication may be at the mercy of the author. While this decency include the proper identification of characters to give proper identity of the society.
2. Factor: Has enormous influence in Hausa prose and movie. This influence have changed the pattern and legacy of the first generation of Hausa prose and the result of the present of pattern of Kano market may likely be Indian manifested in the future. Because even now if one should try to identify the impact of the author as Hausa man or lady in his prose, one may likely to identify somebody closer to instead of Hausa man .
3. American Factor: Due to the globalization syndrome, American influence had made a lot of influence in modern Hausa prose e.g unsual themes such sexy Romantic approaches use of guns, explosive, war merceless killing, massive destruction and other violent approaches in prose were all American literature and movie orientation instead and they have started emergining in Hausa Prose.
4. Interaction with Neighbours: Hausa people live in other communities, and other tribes as well live with Hausa communities. While contact theory, have maintained that each party could influence one another much or little. A none Hausa may decide to write Prose in Hausa, there could be tendency for one to find short comings identifications.
5. Materialism: Presentation in writing mostly exposes or reflects the thoughts and interest of the author. Get rich-quick syndrome has surrounded the minds of our young Hausa authors who were after the money not the reader.
6. Author Factor: The author is the one steering the interest of the reader in the book, and this necessitate the author to have wide knowledge, good background fear of God, conscious of his community and culture. This is because he is going to teach the world and he represents his community.

9.0 Conclusion

Identification in authoring is always clear to critical reader. The identification is always in two ways. The author identification and characters identification, the authors therefore should always make good representation in identification. It is again important for authors to know that they have social responsibility on them to develop their language, to develop their culture and to represent their overrides everything people in their works. Finally fear of Allah in whatever we do in this world will reflect back to us either before we died or after we died.


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