Collection Description

Culture Name

Hausa

Culture Description

The Hausa, the largest ethnic group in West Africa, are concentrated in northern Nigeria and adjacent Niger. The Hausa have evolved from many years of incorporation of different peoples. They share a common religion, Islam, and a common language. The Hausa are organized into centralized kingdoms, known as emirates and they live in hamlets, towns, and cities. Agriculture is the main economic activity. Grain is the staple diet, including Guinea corn, millet, maize, and rice.

Note

Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.

Region

Africa --Western Africa

Countries

Niger

Nigeria

OWC Code

MS12

Number of Documents

20

Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.

Number of Pages

4272

Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in this eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Hausa file consists of nineteen English language documents, with a time coverage ranging from approximately 1800 to the early 1980s. Several of the documents focus on the Hausa of Zaria Province, which was the primary field locale of M.G. Smith, a social anthropologist and an outstanding authority on the Hausa. Four of the documents in the file are by M.G. Smith (Smith 1955, 1957, 1960, 1978, nos. 1, 9, 15, 22) and one by his wife, Mary F. Smith, which is a valuable and insightful autobiography of a Hausa woman who lived in both Kano and Zaria Provinces (see Baba of Karo 1954, no. 3). The works of M.G. Smith provide a very comprehensive overview of Hausa ethnography. Ethnographic topics in Smith's works range from discussions of Hausa economy and social organization to political history and development, and cooperative organizations. The documents written by other authors in this file also provide an abundance of cultural data on Hausa ethnography. These data relate generally to land use, child development, childhood activities, history, religion, kinship, economy, politics, literature, and language. In 1995-1996 six new works were added to this file, Salamone 1974, no. 19; Besmer 1983, no. 21; Smith 1978, no. 22; Works 1976, no. 23; Cohen 1969, no. 24; and Beik 1984, no. 25. Salamone's study, covering the period of 1800 to 1972, is an analysis of the mechanisms through which ethnic groups in Nigeria maintain or modify their ethnic identities. He concentrates on the Dukawa and the Gungawa of the Yauri Emirate, North-Western State, Nigeria, and on their relations with the Hausa. Besmer's study deals with the Hausa BORI cult of spirit-possession, or possession-trance. The focus here is on the cult's adepts, or trancers, and the musicians who also play an important role in trance events. Works monograph, which covers the period from 1800 to 1970, describes the culture of the Hausa in Chad. Emphasis is placed on the effects of pilgrimage (to Mecca) and trade in the formation of a distinctive Hausa culture. The document by Cohen focuses on the Hausa in the Sabo section of Ibadan, Nigeria, and their relations with the Yoruba, who are the numerically predominant group in Ibadan. The time coverage for this work ranges from 1900 to 1963. Beik presents a detailed analysis, partly historical and partly literary, of Hausa theater in Niger.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary originally appeared as the article, "Hausa," by Deborah Pellow in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures, Vol. 9. 1995. John Middleton and Amal Rassam, eds. Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall & Co. The synopsis and indexing notes were prepared by John Beierle, August 1996.

Overview by

John Beierle

AL MAJRAI -- beggars -- category 735

ALKALI -- Islamic judge -- category 698

ASALI -- descent -- category 611

ATTAJIRAI -- merchants -- category 443

BARAKA -- magical power -- category 789

BARANCI -- clientship -- category 466

BARANTAKA -- political clientage -- categories 466, 662

BAZAWARA -- formerly married woman -- categories 548, 580

BOKA -- medicine man -- category 793

BORI cult -- spirit possession cult --category 794

courtesans -- prostitutes -- category 548

DAKUNA -- subdivisions of a Hausa lineage -- category 614

DAM BORI --son of the BORI; male cult adept -- 791

DARAJA -- social rank -- category 554

DHIMMI -- tributary state -- category 636

DODO -- evil spirit -- category 776

DOKI -- stallion, horse; term used for a male trance medium -- category 791

emir -- the head of the emirate -- categories 624, 643

emirate -- state; geographical, political unit - - categories 621, 630, 640

FATAKE - - long distance traders -- category 439

GANDU -- ancestral land inherited through males -- category 592

GARAJIYA -- individuals who have inherited occupations -- categories 554, 463

GARWAYE -- a complex overlap of official jurisdictions -- category 631

GIDAN KARUWAI -- house of prostitutes -- category 548

GIRKA -- healing or initiation rite -- category 788

GIRMA -- charismatic prestige -- category 554

GODIYA -- mare; term used for a female trance medium -- category 791

ISKOKI -- spirits -- category 776

IYALI -- immediate family -- category 594

IZNIN HARI -- raids -- category 721

JANGALI -- cattle tax -- category 651

JEKANDANCI -- administrative agency -- category 647

JINNS -- evil spirits -- category 776

KACIYA -- orgiastic (circumcision) dance -- categories 535, 788

KANWAR RANA -- clientage involving women as clients -- categories 466, 562

KARDA -- inherited, ascribed occupations - - categories 554, 643

KARUWA -- single person, before re-marriage -- categories 548, 580

KARUWANCI -- prostitution -- category 548

KATSIRO -- individuals who take on achieved occupations -- categories 554, 463

KUDIN SARAUTA -- money for office -- category 651

LIMAN -- chief religious teacher or leader -- categories 793, 797

MAI MIGONA --owner of the speech -- category 537

MAIGIDA -- household or compound head; business landlords -- categories 592, 485, 463

MALANCI -- Koranic scholarship -- category 797

MALLAMAI -- Islamic priests or officials -- category 793

MAROKI -- male praise singer or praise shouter -- categories 533, 537

MASAUKI -- hostel, accommodations -- category 485

MASU-MAGANI -- non- Islamic ritualists and magicians -- category 756

MASUGARI -- owners of the town; ward heads -- category 622

MASUKIWO -- groom; term used for the attendants who control and assist trancers -- category 791

MUKADDAM -- Tijaniyya ritual master -- category 793

MUNDAYE -- bracelets kept as liquid reserves for conversion to cash -- category 436

MUTUMCI -- semi-independent forms of clientage -- category 466

PURDAH -- Islamic seclusion of women -- category 562

ROKO -- begging musician -- category 533

RUMADA -- slave settlement -- categories 592, 567

SADAKA -- alms -- category 735

SARAKUNA -- chiefs or officials -- categories 622, 624

SARAUTU -- offices of the state -- category 647

SARKI -- a Muslim who rules an emirate consisting mainly of non-Muslims -- categories 622, 624

SARKIN BORI -- chief of the BORI; main cult leadership position -- categories 793, 756

SARKIN NOMA -- chief of farming -- category 624

SARKIN ZANGO -- chief of the cattle -- category 624

SHARI'A -- Muslim law -- category 671

SHIGEGE -- taking on new or achieved occupations -- categories 554, 463

TAJANIYYA order -- a Muslim sect -- category 794

TALAKUWA -- commoners -- category 554

TARAYYA -- a form of clientage -- category 466

TSARANCE -- sex play short of full intercourse -- category 836

UWAR RANA -- clientage involving women as patrons -- categories 466, 562

WASAM BORI -- BORI rituals not involving trance -- category 788

YAM BORI -- children of the BORI; cult adepts -- category 791

YAN DAUDU -- male homosexuals; transsexuals -- category 838

YAR BORI -- daughter of the BORI; female cult adept -- category 791

ZAKKA -- grain tithe -- category 651

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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