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Posts tagged "hausa"


Mounted armed guards of the Emir of Katsina during festival of Sallah, Katsina, Nigeria.

The festivals of Sallah are celebrated on the two big Muslim holidays, Eid-el-Fitri and Eid-el-kabir, in December and February.

The Emir’s armed guards are dressed in the manner of ancient soldiers. Vests of chain armor are visible under the swirling blue robes, and faces peer out from dark indigo turbans wrapped around the head and under the chin.

This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.
Vintage Nigeria


Hausa Minaret, Gobirau, Katsina, Nigeria

Dambe, also known as Kokawa is a form of boxing associated with the Hausa people of West Africa.

Historically, Dambe included a wrestling component, known as Kokawa, but today it is essentially a striking art. The tradition is dominated by Hausa butcher caste groups, and over the last century evolved from clans of butchers traveling to farm villages at harvest time, integrating a fighting challenge by the outsiders into local harvest festival entertainment.

It was also traditionally practiced as a way for men to get ready for war, and many of the techniques and terminology allude to warfare.

Today, companies of boxers travel, performing outdoor matches accompanied by ceremony and drumming, throughout the traditional Hausa homelands of northern Nigeria, southern Niger and southwestern Chad. The name “Dambe” derives from the Hausa word for “boxing”, and appears in languages like Bole as Dembe. Boxers are called by the Hausa word “daæmaænga”


Four Hausa Gun Carriers of the South Nigerian Regiment, 1902.

Sir John Benjamin Stone

Source: National Portrait Gallery, London

Jimeh Saleh from BBC Hausa returns to his home town of Maiduguri in the far north-east of Nigeria for the first time in almost a year - to find the city is a mere shell of its once lively self, following a spate of deadly attacks by the Boko Haram Islamist group.

As dusk falls in Maiduguri, and the bright afternoon sun gradually turns orange and slowly dips in the evening sky, a muezzin leads the call to pray.

His spirited voice echoes from a pair of loud speakers on a minaret atop one of the oldest mosques in town.

The faithful observe the evening Maghreb prayer - and then have to go straight on to the Isha, the late evening prayer, because Maiduguri has to live under a strict 19:00-06:00 curfew.

Today’s quiet nights - the uncertainty and the insecurity - are a far cry from the Maiduguri I grew up in.

Firmly padlocked houses

My home town, in the far north-east of Nigeria, is also the stronghold the country’s radical Islamist group, Boko Haram.

And in the past few months, the group has carried out a number of violent and devastating attacks in many parts of Nigeria - including drive-by shootings and bombings in Maiduguri, even the central mosque in December.

Back from London in Maiduguri for the first time in almost a year, the town is as dusty as I left it - but it appears poorer - and so do its industrious and boisterous people.

No more do buses, taxis, beggars, vendors and shop keepers hustle for business late into the night.

Families are no longer able to afford three meals a day.

Property speculators are complaining that business is down, and some are suffering losses.

"Closing shops at 7pm is just like working half-day," said an economist with the University of Maiduguri who, like most people I spoke to, asked to remain anonymous.

"The economy here is driven by the informal sector which has no closing hours," he added.

(cont. reading)

Vintage photograph of a Hausa man at prayer


date and exact location unknown

A popular evening snack in Nigeria, the art of skewering chicken, beef or fish marinaded with a dry spice mix containing groundnuts, cayenne pepper, ginger, paprika or onion powder was made popular by the Hausa people from whom the delicacy originates. Driving through Lagos in the latter hours of the day, the roadsides are lit up with the barbecue flames of vendors selling this delicious meat snack that very few can resist - myself included.

Photo credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images & The Kitchen Butterfly