Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hausa-Arewa Stereotypes

(Hi in Hausa)

Okay, I'm in mallam mode today but really I came came across this blog: Its by a Hausa lady and damn does she write intelligently. I was so impressed but thats by the way. Her last post was about tribalism, including stereotyping, got me thinking "why don't I express my view on the topic?" So, I will.

I am a core Northerner ('yar Arewa) and speak hausa fluently with a waec A1 to prove (Did I have to say that?) Anyway, I don't wear a veil all the time (sometimes though) because I am christian. Most people equate northerners with a certain religion and look/fashion. I hardly wear the veil (I'm Christian) but when I do wear traditional "hausa-ish" clothes, only then do people realize I'm northern. So what? It's the stereotyping that I am leading to.

Thing is, I went to a Catholic secondary school in Nigeria which consisted of mostly Igbo, Yoruba and other "southern" ethnic groups. So, I more or less "act" southern and when Hausa language comes out of my mouth, it's like "Did she just say that????". Yea, i'm confused for yoruba for some reason. Some even say I'm igbo or ijebu in hausa skin (Lol!).

My whiz-kid sister won a national competition a few years ago and the press/ people found it hard to believe she was from the North-East (aka, "Northerners aren't that smart"-stereotype wudda?). But does it matter where your from? Because of the profiling, this becomes an issue because some people don't want to be called Igbo well everyone know "Igbos" for certain things. Same goes to the other 250 ethnic groups.

Let me confess though, some of the stereotyping is true for a majority but when we become defined by them, 'akwai wahala ke nan' (there's a problem).

The song by Mode9- "Nigerian girls" is funny especiallly when you watch it with the video. But don't run away from a Fulani, Yoruba, Gwari, Edo or Calabar lady because of what Mode9 said. Just laugh it off.

It's all about an individual's personality, so lets start with that first.

Ni ce (me),



Mm-hm, I know what you mean.
Like QueenOfHearts pointed out, it's a Nigerian problem, this stereotyping. (I'm guilty of judging the'Yan Kudu'harshly). We're overcoming it gradually though. (These days people are wising up to the fact that Northerners can be smart sha (& their astonished faces never cease to amuse me!))

Interesting! I will be back to read some more because growing up in the north, but being of 'southern' descent I can relate to alot of these things you mention.

Hey- I find that stuff you write about Northern / Southern culture so interesting! Tell me, exactly how popular is Hindi / Bollywood cinema in hausa culture? And what effect does this have on your fashions?
Sydney Australia

Most Norhterners are Muslim so dress and accesorize (gold jewellery, henna-body art) like Middle-Easterners and Southern Asians.

They are not as western as Southern Nigerians and so Bollywood movies are more popular than Hollywood movies in the core North/Hausaland.

There is also a Hausa movie industry called 'Kannywood' based in Kano. The movies are very much like Bollywood 'musicals' with a lot of singing and dancing, display of colour, culture, henna-art, and jewellery.

Most critics dislike Kannywood Hausa movies for 'copying' Bollywood too much.

Youtube Hausa/ Kannywood movies.

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