Baba of Karo, 1877-1951. Baba of Karo, a woman of the Muslim Hausa

Table of Contents

Publication Information


How The Story Was Written

Background To The Story: The Hausa Of Northern Nigeria

Environment And Economy

Kinship And Marriage

The Political System

Clientage And Bond Friendship

Part One

Chapter I C. 1890-1904 Childhood

My Father’s Family History

Grandfather Ibrahim Dara

Slave Estates

The Family After Grandfather Ibrahim’s Death

Chapter Ii First Memories

A Day In My Childhood

Chapter Iii A Girl’s Friends

The Children’s Play-associations At Zarewa ( 33 )

Girls’ Trading Expeditions ( 35 )


Chapter Iv Wars, Raids, And The Coming Of The British ( 41 )

Slave-raiders At Karo

My Mother Dies; Aunt Rabi Is Enslaved

My Maternal Kinsfolk

More About My Mother’s Kinsfolk

My Aunt Rabi

Part Two

Chapter V C. 1904-1907 A Girl’s First Marriage ( 88 )

Marriage Of Almsgiving ( 107 )

Bond-friends And Marriage

Chapter Vi I Marry My Cousin Duma

The Rescue Of Aunt Rabi

Part Three

Chapter Vii C. 1907-1922 Second Marriage

Arrangements For My Second Marriage ( 131 )

The Wedding

Chapter Viii A Large Household

My Father Moves To Giwa

I Adopt A Son

A Birth In Our House

Usuman’s Death

I Adopt More Children: Some Marriages Of Alms

Dije’s Married Life

Malam Maigari’s Teaching Expeditions

News Of My Father And Brother At Giwa

Chapter Ix The Ritual Of Childbirth

Mother’s Milk

Chapter X Trouble Over A Marriage Of Alms

Another Marriage Of Alms Which Annoyed Aunt Rabi

The Chief Who Went Mad

Nasamai’s Rich Wife

My Adopted Daughter Is Married

Aunt Rabi Breaks Up My Marriage

Part Four

Chapter Xi C. 1922-1943 Third Marriage

My Father Arranges My Marriage

My Husband And His Twin Sister Hasana

Chapter Xii My Husband Marries My Friend Adama

More About My Adopted Children And About Boys And Girls

An Adoption Dispute

What Happened To My Adopted Children

The Warder’s Work

Another Kind Of Madness

Fagaci Ahmadu And His Household

The Story Of Fagaci Ahmadu

Old Giwa And Its Market

Chapter Xiii Formal Friendships

The Obligations Of Bond Friendship

Another Faithless Bond Friend

More Formal Friendships: Adopted ‘mothers’ And ‘fathers’

Chapter Xiv Fagaci Ahmadu’s Death And His Successor

The Death Of My Husband, Malam Hasan The Warder; We Move To New Giwa

Part Five

Chapter Xv 1943-1950 Last Years And Fourth Marriage

I Go To Live With My Brother Kadiri

More About The Move To New Giwa And The Spirits

Prostitutes And Bori In Giwa And Zarewa

The Hut In The Forecourt

A Nobleman’s Female Messengers

Chapter Xvi My Quarrel With My Brother’s Wife

I Marry My Present Husband

My Adopted Daughter’s Marriage And Her First Childbirth

The Past And The Future

Postscript (translation)

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: Baba of Karo, a woman of the Muslim Hausa

Published By: London: Farber and Farber, 1954. 300 p., plate: ill., map

By line: by M. F. Smith ; with an introduction and notes by M. G. Smith, Ph.D. ; preface by Daryll Forde

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1997. Computer File

Culture: Hausa (MS12)

Subjects: Life history materials (159);

Abstract: This is an autobiography of a Hausa woman whose story begins at about the time of the British occupation of northern Nigeria at the end of the ninteenth century and continues to 1950. It was recorded in Hausa by Mary F. Smith during an eighteen month field study of a series of Hausa villages by Smith and her husband. In the form of personal recollections of conditions and events through the half-century, Baba's account is concerned primarily with domestic affairs; it also treats women's role in economic activities, religious rites of the BORI or pagan spirit cults, and cultural attitudes toward numerous changes made in the period. As it is related by a woman to a woman ethnologist, it presents much material which would otherwise be unavailable in a society practicing wife seclusion. The introduction gives a cultural summary of the Hausa as a background for the autobiography.

Document Number: 3

Document ID: ms12-003

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: Includes index

Field Date: 1949-1950

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: George R. Bedell ; 1959

Coverage Date: ca. 1900-1950

Coverage Place: Nigeria

LCSH: Hausa (African people)


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