A folktale about divorce

Moving away from “Baba of Karo” and Hausaland, last month I read “In the Shadow of the Bush” by P. Amaury Talbot. He was District Commissioner in colonial Nigeria and wrote anthropological texts on people of the South-South region. His work is extensive and covers not just culture and society, but jujus, witchcraft, flora and…

Squad goals: Kawaye

Friends can make or break you and one of the major themes in “Baba of Karo: A Woman of the Muslim Hausa” is just how important bonds between women are. Baba gives us a glimpse into the complex social constructs that went into these bond friendships, there’s jealousy and betrayal, but there’s also support. Kawaye…

Who was…this warrior woman

‘Who was…?’ a series that explores the African women who pop up in history yet remain mysterious. The quote below this image says enough, “A warrior woman near Kambole insisted on fighting with the men”. Abeg, what’s her story? Image source, USC Libraries Digital Collection via Tumblr I did a quick search and it seems…

What’s in a (bride) price?

Within the first chapters of reading Baba’s life story, it becomes clear just how important the exchange of gifts was (and probably still is) to the institution of marriage among her people. Now, we know that across several communities in the African continent, part of the marriage involves the groom paying a certain amount to…

On concubinage…continued

If you thought concubines are a legacy of the past, guess what? When the British came with their colonialism, they imposed prohibitions on slavery in Northern Nigeria. This was only halfhearted though, as the British policy implicitly accepted the patriarchal nature of concubinage. Colonial courts had to deal with cases involving slave women, some of…