The significance of Hausa oral songs in the field of folklore cannot be over emphasized, because its deals with all aspect ofhuman life. Songs as agents of national integration and development support us in solving some of the current socio-economic and political issuesof our societies. Women, who are part and parcel of national integration cancontributeimmensely towards the betterment of their society.  Although, women are classified into so many groups,divorceewho constitute one of such groups is the focus of this paper. A divorcee is a woman who has tested the marriage life, but because...

 Rabi’u Aliyu Rambo 
Department of Nigerian Languages,
Usmanu Danfodiyo University,Sokoto


The significance of Hausa oral songs in the field of folklore cannot be over emphasized, because its deals with all aspect ofhuman life. Songs as agents of national integration and development support us in solving some of the current socio-economic and political issuesof our societies. Women, who are part and parcel of national integration cancontributeimmensely towards the betterment of their society.  Although, women are classified into so many groups,divorceewho constitute one of such groups is the focus of this paper. A divorcee is a woman who has tested the marriage life, but because of one reason or the other loses her matrimony. In view of the above, this paper wishes to explore who are the divorcees, their basic characteristics and classifications.It also attempt to provide solutions to the problems associated with divorcees in terms of national integration.The aim will be achieved through studying the concept and life style of divorcees in Northern Nigeria as portrayed in the Hausa oral song ofAlhajiSaniDanbaldoWaramu., Epithets, and proverbswill be part of content analysis in the song.


Studies in poetry act as an epitome of expressing human feelings towards achieving greater height in the development of our mind .The poets are regarded as intelligent people whose reputations are beyond questioning.  Messages are imparted by these people to the audience can be viewed in different perspective. It dealt with issues related to the reshaping of our mind and giving pleasure and awareness. As such, the aspects dealt in this paper relate only to the work of AlhajiSaniDanbaldoWamaru and his group. And particularly in his song title ‘WakarZaura’ (Divorceesong ).

It is importance that we examine values that have being part of our culture, from time immemorial for possible guidance in our search to make life and living more tolerable for all. We believe that in the continuation of our search for new ideas,new ways of ensuring socio-economic and political stability. Abubakar(1987:xiv)

One of the motives of folklore is the need for inspiration which intends to train men to think critically and constructively. This inspiration therefore, cannot be based wholly on spiritual cases but rather imparted through human influence. At the same end, it also provides people with some skill in logical reasoning as an intellectual foot for seeking wisdom. To my understanding, wisdom is one of the tools used by SaniDanbaldo to portray his poetic talents to suite our present problems of integration. The singer’s logical arrangements of statement focus a lot of interest and create cognitive thinking towards solving some problems of integration as relate to attitude of widow in northern Nigeria. In fact, these are methods used by most poet and praise singers in the field of poetry. Their songs create factual statements, and moving the people towards a rational conclusion.As Hausa saying goes: “Kukankurciyajawabi ne “(words of our elders are words of wisdom). It is to this ends,this paper want to study some folkloric aspect of divorcee in Northern Nigeria, and aspect to be study include the position of widow in Northern Nigeria as portray by SaniDanbaldoWaramu in his song of Zaura(divorcee).


2.1 Song

To define song seems to be a difficult task, because sometimes definition offered may be varied. Each definition offered depends on the sensory and emotional mood of its narrator. For example while Nwoga (1977) emphasize the incidence of rhythm,Egudu (1980) lays emphasis on thought and feeling. However Babalola (1974) viewed song as striking rhythmical expression of elevated thought and feeling in a figurative language .This thought and feeling communicate emotional experience and express a deep feeling to the audience. In addition, other authors such as Yahaya (1980:21),Yahaya (1997:6) and Dangambo (1981:23) had perceivedsong as a meaningful statement arranged in stanzas or in rhythms which portrayed messages to the audience. From above,we can conclude that a song is an organize statement which are utter out through a good selection of words with emphasis on the use of stanzas and rhythm.

In view of the above definition, we can realize that, the role of oral songs as a tool for integration cannot be overemphasized. As such oral songs played a vital role toward the national integration.

2.2 Divorcee:

Divorcee is a woman who had tested the marriage experience.but because of one reason or the other the marriage is dissolved. The popular name of divorcee in Northern part of Nigeria particularly the Hausa\Fulani is Zaura as in Sokoto dialect, Saura as in Katsina dialect and Jaura as for Kano dialect. All these names refer to one person which is Zaura.According to Koko (2002) she is of the view that,the origin of this word is from a word “Saura” which means a second hand. But because of Hausa taboo the word was change to Zaura/Saura and Jaurarespectfully. In my exclusive interview with the singer Baldo(2010). He is of the view that, divorcee is a woman who was married to another person.Thatmeans she is now living with her parent or relatives. while she continuous to remained in her parent or relatives house she remain a divorcee until she get another marriage .Tsamiya  (2010) and Yakasai (2000) has the same version  as regard to divorcee. From the above, one can understand that, the word divorcee is applicable only to woman who had tested the marriage before but presently unmarried.

3.0 The folkloric aspect of divorcee as portrayed by SaniDanbaldo in his balladsong of Zaura (divorcee)

Despite the fact that, the singer SaniDanbaldo is a Hausa man by tribe, he did not hesitated in telling us the negative aspect of divorcee as she affect the good will of our National integration particularly in the northern part of Nigeria. The singer was born in 1957 at Waramu village of Anka local government in Zamfara state .Perhaps this may be the reasons why we can notice some dialectal difference in his wordings in the song.

But before we go ahead in to the folkloric aspect of divorcee in this song, it will be wise for us to study the theme of this song under our discussion. The theme here refers to as motives or the message the singer intends to portray to his audience. The major theme of this song is to draw the attention of our men who are proposing to marry a divorcee to be extra careful with her. To this end, he tried to portray her characteristics in the community. Not only that ,he drew the attention of divorceerelatives and her parent on how she endangeredthem causing problems of integration within the community especially when they force her to marry someone who is not her choice their own choice .

In his attempt to convey this massage, the singer employed the use of folkloric ideas in a different perspectives in order to suite his methods of delivering his messages. This folkloric statement can be seen in his song where he uses proverbs and epithets among others. In addition to the above, others areas of folklore to be studied in this paper include that of socio-economic and religious ill of divorcee  as relate to national integration.

3.1 Proverbs

Gidlen (1974:96) in Bada (1995:56) perceived proverbs as:

The use of words to illustrate a certain action but completely

unrelated to the literal meaning of the words .Just as metaphor

is the use of words to indicate something different from the literal

meaning, so is proverbs the use of a phrase to indicate something

literally different from the phrase itself

Proverbs is one of the techniques the singer ( SaniBaldo ) used to provoke the anger of the divorcee . Because proverb usually has hidden meaning, and it took even intelligent persons time to understand their meaning. These proverbs are used to tarnish the image of divorcee in the society.

From the song under study, that is the divorcee song of SaniBaldo, proverbs are used in many occasions. This may not be unconnected with the fact that proverbs are usually made in a short form and it contains some philosophical underpinning. For example the singer goes on to sung:

“ Yara ta kuraba ta kareceba

Ta yaroba ta kamarbabba

Indaiba tare da manyanaiyazzoba

To a bar kazacikingashinta

Ammaai ban sointonaba

‘yarinna da baba diyargwaggo


You kid, what belongs to hyena is not for the dog

The performance of a boy will not be as that of the elders

Unless he follows the footsteps of his elders

Let sleeping dog lies

I do not intend to expose

The daughter of mother, father and aunty

From the above, the singer introduced to us some abnormal characteristics of divorcee in our society. Because it is known in African context,that parent plays a vital role in the selection of husbands for their daughters. But this is not the case with divorcee. As such the singer is informing divorcee and the audience that any reasonable childshall respect the words of his elders .The proverb “let sleeping dog lies” implies that if the singer should be exposing the bad habit of divorcee, she will be impassioned in the society. And this may not be unconnected with the fact that,the singer had a bitter experience of divorcee in his life. As such he makes use of folkloric statement to deliver his massage indirectly to his audience.

3.2 Epithet:

According to Cambridge International Dictionary of English, epithet is an adjective added to a person’s name or a descriptive phrase used instead of it,which usually criticize or praise them. Moreover,Kafin Hausa has the view that:

The term epithet can be defined as a word or words that are

said in a kind of special style so as to flatter or incite or respect

a person or something. Thus a person can use these words in order

to flatter oneself. These words are said in a kind voice that is high or

deep so that the listener will differentiate it from the normal discourse.

(Kafin Hausa1997:99)

Bargery also perceived epithet as:

Epithets applied to or set cries and expressions lauding and

                                  Flattering important cities or chiefs flattering expressions used

by a professional beggar regarding the person or the relatives

of the person from whom he hopes to receive some largesse in

any games.

Bargery(1935, in Mode 2005:106)

From the above definitions, one can perceive that ,epithet can be words, phrases or sentences that aimed at describing ,criticizing ,praising , inciting or flattering something or someone which is done usually with change in tune voice different from that of the ordinary discourse.

The singer SaniDanbaldo, make use of this folkloric aspect to portray his message.For example:

Zaura ‘yar Inna da Baba diyargwaggo

Zaura ‘yar Inna da Baba


‘yar Inna da Baba shiriritanomanki

Mai sarabongidaba a shiryaba

Ba ke ta yarokakirariyasamoba

Don ba a kirarisaianshirya


Divorcee the daughter of father, mother and ants

Divorcee the daughter of father and mother

With a stubborn personality

The daughter of mom and dad

Your farming is just a waste of time

She cause the splitting of their house without intention

You are not the type that a boy can be proud off that he has gotten

Because you cannot proud of her until you are got wedded

3.3 Social ill ofdivorcee.

Under normalcy in Hausa land, a child is expected to respect to all hisparent decision on him, and equally to follow the footstep of his parent. But with divorcee this  is not the case in Northern part of Nigeria .This is because,divorcee always denied the norms and values of Hausa land. She has no respect for either the elders nor for the younger ones in the community. The singer portrayed this in his song so as to criticize her character as a social ill in our society.

Disunity within thecommunity: This is another social ill of divorcee in Northern Nigeria,divorcee contributed seriously in some misunderstanding that developed within the family and community at large. And this directly or indirectly affect our national integration. This can be trace in the song of zaura (divorcee) where the singer explain how her unwanted character  lether uncle to slept in cassava farm ,and her mother’s brother to slept in sugar cane farm. Not only that, she lead to the splitting of their housein to portion without that intension . From the above, we can realize that divorcee in Northern Nigeria causes a lot of disunity within her family and community at large. And this affect our national integration.

For example, the singer went ahead and sung thus:

Duk da nagudunubanshi da kunyaitabayanta

Mai sarabongidaba a shiryaba

Da wa da kane da uwa kaka

An batasabodadiyaga ta

Itaba ta da tsohoba ta da yaro in ta tashi

Mai sakanenubantayakwan gun danger rogo

Kanenuwartayayiwurin rake

Ita in kayibidabakasamuba



Every good child do not betray his parent, but for divorcee is not the case

She let to the splitting of their house without intention

The senior and junior brother as well as the mother how far

The family are disorganize because of her

She did not respect elders neither the younger ones

She let her uncle to slept in cassava farm

And her mother brother who went on sugarcane farm

When you propose to marry her, and you missed her

You always blame elders of the community

In addition, another social ill of divorcee is her nature of moving or discussing withkaruwai (prostitutes) In Hausa community, prostitute are undesirable element in our society, as such whoever is moving with them is also considered  a problem in the society.

3.4 Economic ill of divorcee .

Economic sector is one of thevital sectorsthat bring about integration. Here the singer lamented some factors which directlyor indirectly affect our national integration and development as it relate to divorcee in Hausa land. Economic activities may be perceive to as any means or activities that assist individual or group of people to sustain their life’s.These may include farming, trading and craft among others.

The singer,SaniBaldo tries to highlight how zaura (divorcee) affect the economic development of these activities especially in the Northern part of Nigeria.In his song, he sighted an example of Fulani man who sold his four cows and four ramsand gave out the money to a widow whom he is proposing to get marriage withher .But at the end, she did not marry him neither did she return his money back to him. In this case, had it been the cows are not sold. he could have rear them and make reasonable things other than that. For example, the song goes as:

Wajenmarakihudunissaikai ta canye

Yarana sun yikiwonragodanjarne

Su hudunissaikai ta canye

Ban hadataggosabonaiba

Meaning:     I sold about four cows just for her

My children reareda  ram

I sold four of them just for her

I did not sew a set of dress

Traders equally contributed a lot towards the economic development of our community as well as integration. The singerportrays how divorcee disrupted the trading activities in Northern Nigeria. For example, in his song of divorcee, the singer sighted an exampleof a trader who proposed to marriage a divorcee but at end could not marriage her after he has spent his money for her. For example, the singer has this to illustrate :

…..Zaura ta sami ‘yantiredakwanakki tag gyare

Alhajinaiskecakulan da bazooka nan garkarsu

Shi ba a batunbiskitkwali-kwali taka kecewa

Waisaitaccemanikamfana taw watsa


Nicce to aiba a kaiki project ba ,yaki

Meaning;                     Sometime divorcee met with some traders and exploited them

Oh Alhaji I sochocolate, bazooka and chewing gum in thier house

Forget about biscuit, she tear them in Catton

She says: she  sprayed camper

A kind of fertilizer

I says, but you are not taken to project(fertilizer deport), you come

From the above,one can see how divorcee woman can disrupt the trading activities of a person who is proposing to marriage a divorcee and at the end she cannot marriage him .This can in many ways affect the economic development of our community. Not only that, the singer went ahead to mentionother areas of economic activities in Hausa communities which divorcee  affected their development; which included the sector of ‘yantaula, ‘yansakai, ‘yankoli , rundawa , wanzammai and makera among others.

3.5 Divorcee in religious perspectives.

Religion plays a vital role in community integration. AlhajiSaniDanbaldo used his wisdom to portray how a widow can affect individual in his act ofworship. For example, Islam is a religion that is governs by Islamic guidelines. Any good Muslim is expected to perform his act of worship in accordance to the teaching of Islam .The singer narrated  how a divorcee because of her devious character make a person to be confused even during the prayers .

In his song, he gavean example of one man, who after proposing to marry a widow and she refused to marry him. Because of this problem, he was confused, as such he cannot perform his worship as prescribed by his religion. For example, he went on to sung thus:

….Kagadaina san sallarmabidizaura

Ni na san koyaushekala’icesankira

Haryaubaishigajam’ibawashi nan…….




Koshibai san waddayacceba

To sunanzaurar Indo A’i

SaidaiyakamakiranIndo ! Indo! Umh



You see, I knew the prayers of a divorcee proposer

I knew he always done his prayers personally

Up to date he did not  joined the congregational prayers

As he did the first raka’at without bowing

I just had him concluding the prayers,   he had finished

He began to says prayers

Without knowing what hewas saying ,

The name of the divorcee was Indo, A’i

He then began to mentioned her name indo !Indo !in the prayers

The issue of divorcee  iswonderful

In view of the above, one can see the negative influence of divorcee in relation to performance of  act of worship, From the song, one can see that, because of the deep love he has for her  , he has even forgotten how to perform ablution and prayers (sallat) . Not only that, he went on to be mentioning the name of divorcee after taslim Indo! Indo !

3.6 Entertainment:

Another folkloric aspect that can be traced in this song is the entertainment. The singer used his divorcee to entertain his audience.  In an attempt to portray this he sighted an example of a dump man who meets with a divorcee. e g:

Ni rannannajibululukai
Don harnaazagebena yak shake
Harnasheka in samoarongora in take
Nice kurma in bandakarambanimikkaika
Yo !mai jiyayibidarzaura ta kishi
Ballekurma farce taka nunamaishiadda

Meaning:       Day before yesterday, I so a sympathetic thing

A deaf was rejected by a divorcee
That day I had a grooming voice
I thought it is an overflowed of river
I had even wanted to borrow bamboo stick to cross over
I says, you deaf what cause you to look for divorcee
Yoh !She denied even the normal persons
Talk less of deafthat she used finger to communicate

4.0  Conclusion

From the discussion we made in this paper, we examined the significance of folksong in the socio-economic and religious interaction of widow in the Northern part of Nigeria. This study has confirmed the effectiveness of folksongs particularly the divorcee song as tool or weapon of social construction. Divorcee songs have been shown as having the capability to build the desirable character as well as to destroy the undesirable character in the community. As such, from the discussion of this paper, we realized that divorcees saved as an agent of destruction and disintegration. As shown in in the study,divorcee contributed seriously in the socio-economic and religiousdisorder in our community. divorcee are portrayed as agent that bring about the disunity among the Hausa/ Fulani community in Northern part of Nigeria.

This paper is of the view that, the study of such songs can be a powerful tool for national integration. Because, the songs composed us to some common features of widow in Northern part of Nigeria which if carefully study will lead us to solve some of our national integration problems particularly as it relate to divorcee on socio-economic as well as religious sectors. To this end therefore, composition of such songs are geared towards socio-cultural harmony, unity, and mutual understanding.


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