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10 interesting facts about the Hausas

Hausas traditionally live in small villages as well as in precolonial towns and cities where they grow crops, raise livestock including cattle as well as engage in trade, both local and long-distance across Africa.
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They speak the Hausa language, an Afro-Asiatic language of the Chadic group. Historically, Daura, in northern Nigeria, is the oldest city of Hausaland. The Hausa of Gobir, also in northern Nigeria, speak the oldest surviving classical vernacular of the language.

Katsina was the centre of Hausa Islamic scholarship but was later replaced by Sokoto stemming from the 19th century Usman Dan Fodio Islamic reform. More than a few international broadcasting stations offer dedicated Hausa broadcasts. Thus making it the only indigenous Nigerian language with foreign station broadcasts. Some international stations that offer broadcasts in the Hausa language include British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Radio France Internationale, China Radio International, Voice of Russia, Voice of America, Arewa 24 Deutsche Welle and IRIB.

Here are a few facts

1. The Hausa tribe is the most populous in West Africa.

2. The Hausa language is the most spoken in West Africa.

3. The city-state of Kano is one of the oldest cities and the economic capital of Hausas.

4. There are majorly four dialects of the language but the standard is the “Kananci” (Kano dialect).

5. The Hausas are majority Muslim and most of their heritage and culture are centred around it.

6. Daura, in northern Nigeria, is the oldest city of Hausaland.

7. Katsina was the centre of Hausa Islamic scholarship but was later replaced by Sokoto stemming from the 19th century Usman Dan Fodio Islamic reform.

8. The only Nigerian language that is broadcast by foreign stations.

9. It has an advanced writing system.
Hausa is arguably one of the most advanced languages in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. The language was commonly written with a variant of the Arabic script known as Ajami but is now written with the Latin alphabet known as Boko.

There is also a Hausa braille system. The firstbooko was devised by Europeans in the early 19th century and developed in the early 20th century by British (mostly) and French colonial authorities. In 1930, it was made the official Hausa alphabet and since the 1950s boko has been the main alphabet for Hausa. As a result, Ajamii (the Arabic script) is now only used in Islamic schools and for Islamic literature.

Read also: Ooni Lúwòó Gbàgìdá’s legacy: A remarkable reign in Yoruba history

Fun fact: Boko, which refers to non-Islamic (usually Western) education or secularism is commonly stated to be a borrowed word from the English word “book”. But in 2013, leading Hausa expert, Paul Newman published “The Etymology of Hausa Boko”, in which he presents the view that Boko is a native word meaning “sham, fraud”, suggesting that Western learning and writing is seen as deceitful in comparison to traditional Koranic scholarship.

10. Daura and Kano are regarded as the standard Hausa dialects.
Like many indigenous languages around the world, the Hausa language has several dialects including the Eastern Hausa dialects like Dauranchi in Daura, Kananci which is spoken in Kano, Bauchi in Bauchi, Gudduranci in Katagum Misau and part of Borno, Kutebanci in Taraba and Hadejanci in Hadejiya.

Western Hausa dialects include Sakkwatanci in Sokoto, Katsinanci in Katsina, Arewanci in Gobir, Adar, Kebbi, and Zamfara, and Kurhwayanci in Kurfey in Niger. Northern Hausa dialects include Arewa and Arawci, and Zazzaganci in Zaria is the major Southern dialect. Katsina is transitional between Eastern and Western dialects. In all of this however, Daura (Dauranchi) and Kano (Kananci) dialect are regarded as the standard, and these are the dialects BBC, Deutsche Welle, Radio France Internationale and Voice of America offer their broadcasts in.

Read also: 25 interesting facts about the Yorubas

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