1 September 2005: please note that this page is still unfinished.  There are many ungrokked links at the bottom and not all are even "live."  I have more images to add as well but it may be several weeks before I have time to return to this page.  I am therefore launching it along with my finished pages on Niger, the 2005 Famine in Niger, and the Songhay Peoples.  Please be patient -- creating each new webpage is very, very labor-intensive.  Regardless, there is still much here that I hope you will find useful.

An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.



Note: Also see my Niger and Songhay pages

Niger: detail
Map (negativized) from the University of Iowa.

There are intriguing links here to the three major non-French languages of Niger: Kanuri, a Nilo-Saharan (west) language; Zarma [alternate form: Djerma], a Nilo-Saharan (south) Songhay language; and Hausa, a Chadic language.  [This link is also on my Niger page -- I've repeated it here for convenience.]


Map of Hausa Peoples

This is a brief entry on Niger's Hausa-speaking people from southeastern Niger and northern Nigeria.
...Hausa are an ancient culture that had an extensive coverage area, and long ties to the Arabs. The Hausa have been Muslim since the 14th century, and have converted many other Nigerian tribes to the Muslim faith by contact, trade, and jihads....
This excellent site looks at Imperial African states  -- I first placed this link on my Songhay page but am repeating it here for its section on Hausa States:
Hausa was mostly a collection of agricultural settlements and trade centres with no real unity until the early nineteenth century. Population centres of Kano and Katsina developed as trading posts, Zaria as a slave raiding centre, Rano as an industrial centre, and Gogir at the desert's edge served to protect from nomadic raiders. These were the major centres of the Hausa States, and became major political players in the seventeenth century.
For a good deal of the history of the Hausa region, the area was under the political pressure or even the vassalage of their more powerful neighbors of Bornu-Kanem, Songhay, and Mali, as each power rose up in their respective turn. For most of Hausa history, inter cultural rivalry consumed most of the regions political energies, as each state fought the others for dominance of the region.
Islamic culture and religion was gradually introduced into the region through the trade routes from the north, but made little impression on the populace or its leadership. Kano and Katsina were under Islamic influence by the late fourteenth century, while Gobir was still animist in the sixteenth century, and Zaria didn't accept Islam until the nineteenth century when the Fulani Jihad lead by Usuman dan Fodio finally united the region and ended the individual influences of each of the Hausa States.
From the University of Iowa comes a chart of pertinent facts about the Hausa people of Niger and Nigeria.  Here is the intriguing "History" section on the Hausa's mythic origins:
Origin myths among the Hausa claim that their founder, Bayajidda, came from the east in an effort to escape his father. He eventually came to Gaya, where he employed some blacksmiths to fashion a knife for him. With his knife he proceeded to Daura where he freed the people from the oppresive nature of a sacred snake who guarded their well and prevented them from getting water six days out of the week. The queen of Daura gave herself in marriage to Bayajidda to show her appreciation. The two gave birth to seven healthy sons, each of whom ruled the seven city states that make up Hausaland. The rise of the Hausa states occurred between 500 and 700 A.D., but it was not until 1200 that they really began to control the region. The history of the area is intricately tied to Islam and the Fulani who wrested political power from the Hausa in the early 1800s through a series of holy wars.
And here is the Religion section:
There was an Islamic presence in Hausaland as early as the 11th century. According to tradition, Islam was brought to Hausa territory by Muhommad Al-Maghili, an Islamic cleric, teacher, and missionary, who came from Bornu toward the end of the 15th century. Early Islamization proceeded peacefully, mainly at the hands of prophets, pilgrims, and merchants. In the early days the number of individuals who accepted Islam was small, and among those who did, it was usually practiced along with traditional Hausa religious beliefs. In many cases, the ruling elite were the first to convert to Islam. It was not until the early 1800s that the Fulani began to put pressure on the Hausa to undergo large scale conversion. Through a series of holy wars (jihads) the northern part of what is today Nigeria was unified in the name of Islam under the auspices of the Fulani empire.

Hausa teaching-doll, mid-late 20th century
This is "Mediating Cultural Communities" by Dr. Conerly Casey of the Department of Anthropology at UCLA. In this intellectually challenging paper (which is enlivened with surreal illustrations and extensive references), the author looks at Muslim Hausa girls and spirit possession in terms of the intense psychological disjunction brought about by the intersection of a deadly epidemic of meningitis with quasi-forbidden foreign media (India's masala dance-romance films).  As I read it, I kept thinking of James Hillman's insight that too many people have monotheistic souls within polytheistic psyches, and in that mismatch will be much pain.  It begins this way:
...To probe this ambivalence and its meaning for real/virtual relations, I would like to focus on examples from my work with Muslim Hausa youths of northern Nigeria. By doing this, I hope to suggest some of the real/virtual remappings of self/other relations, and newly forming intersubjective assemblages of self-reference that alter identities, memories and consciousness. More broadly, I would like to consider experiences of media in relation to the nexus of colonization, witchcraft and spirit possession, lightly framing these felt qualities of experience with a plethora of related concepts: Fanon’s (1967) “epidermalization” as an affective disjuncture between colonized self and body; Stoller’s (1995) “embodied memories” of colonization, spirit possession and its sensorial reverberations through communities; Damasio’s (2000) “composite memories”, those that hold a link between categories of fact and categories of internal states; and finally, Edelman’s ( ) “qualia” or the subjective experiences of feeling and sensation. I suggest that ambivalent experiences of media are best understood in relation to historical ruptures to the nexus of identity, memory, and consciousness, processes that become sediment within personal and collective bodies. For most of the world’s people, these ruptures include colonization, the hybridization of cultural identities, memories and consciousness, and in many cases, the explicit eradication of them. In northern Nigeria, felt experiences of violence, whether through colonization, a colonization of consciousness via the media, witchcraft, or spirit possession, map onto existing forms, and merge together to form associative sensorial references. Ambivalent experiences of the media emerge alongside newly emerging and reforming Webs of associative, sensorial reference so that depending upon their contexts, such experiences may be clarifying or obfuscating, binding or expanding, comforting or anxiety producing.

Crises Unfold
In December of 1995, five secondary school girls in the city of Kano, the commercial and religious center of northern Nigeria, held a late night party with loud music and dancing. They described seeing a haggardly old woman with disheveled red hair who complained about their noise, asking them to end their party. The girls ignored her and called her cus, a disrespectful name. In response, the woman pointed at them, angrily telling them they would dance until the end of their lives for Sumbuka, before she disappeared.

The next day these five girls began "foaming at the mouth and holding their arms like Inna," a spirit who causes paralysis.1 Within several weeks, over six hundred girls at two secondary schools, one in Kano and one two hours away in Jigawa State, began complaining of similar symptoms: paralysis, crying, shouting and most remarkable, spontaneous dancing “like they do in Indian masala film”. Only ethnic Hausa girls, and girls whose families originated in Kano were affected, even though the population of one school, a government college in Jigawa State, was mixed by ethnicity, religion and home residence....

Spontaneous dancing resembling that performed in Indian masala film is a new "symptom" never before witnessed among Muslim Hausa....

The paper is a rich, highly compressed analysis of a phenomenon of great contemporary relevance, especially among the ever-experimenting young, as the following passage from near the end demonstrates:
... Phenomenological and cultural experiences of new media and digital networks are never unmediated, nor separate, but part of living in multiple cultural “realities”. Mediating cultural communities may be similar and synergistic with regard to sensation, perception and cognition, blurring personal and cultural boundaries, or they may offer competing, even incommensurable forms. Newly mediating cultural communities map into our existing networks--human, spirit and machine—which themselves have their own histories, memories, and evidences of “truth”. Within the contact zones or borderlands of new mediascapes, intercultural accountings allow us to navigate, to share and to elaborate upon foreign cultural sensibilities. We may undergo elaborate dramatizations of foreignness that catalyze group understandings, and domesticate what is foreign. New mediascapes provide us with venues through which to think, to remember and to anticipate sociocultural and political processes, reforming our histories, memories and communities. However, phenomenological and cultural experiences of mediating cultural communities may also produce alienation, conflict and disjuncture, marked by cultural restrictions, censorship, even violence.....

Hausa Women
(From Indiana University -- see directly below)
Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences offers this page on Foreign Language Opportunities -- in this case, learning the Hausa language.  Two excerpts from this brief page:
Historical and Geo-Political Importance: For centuries, Hausa has been a language of commercial importance throughout West Africa.  Today Hausa has about 40 million first- and second-language speakers, concentrated in Nigeria, where it is one of three national languages, and in Niger, where Hausas are the majority ethnic group....

...A Long IU Tradition: Indiana University has taught Hausa continuously since the 1960s.  The main library has one of the richest collections of Hausa materials, particularly in folk literature, linguistic studies, poetry, religion, as well as modern fiction and political works....

Hausaby Ronald Parris

Hausa Craftsman by Bode Fowotade


Fulani by Pat I. Ndukwe

Again from the University of Iowa comes a chart on the powerful Fulani people, whose history is so intertwined with the above Hausa.  Excerpts from the History, Economy, and Religion sections:
Fulani are a nomadic peoples who have been influential in regional politics, economics, and histories throughout western Africa for over a thousand years. They...contributed to the migratory movements of people southward through Niger and Nigeria into Cameroon. They were also responsible for introducing and spreading Islam throughout much of western Africa. The height of the Fulani empire was between the early 1800s and early 1900s....

Fulani are mainly nomadic herders and traders. The routes they established in western Africa provided extensive links throughout the region that fostered economic and political ties between otherwise isolated ethnic groups. Dairy products produced from Fulani cattle were traded to sedentary farmers for agricultural products and luxury items. Fulani traders then traded these luxury items between various groups along their nomadic routes.  Members of individual Fulani clans often settled down among their sedentary neighbors, intermarrying and establishing trading contacts for future business transactions.

Fulani religion is largely, if not wholly, Islamic....It is usually the case that the wealthy and powerful are among the most religious, while those who have fewer resources are less likely to observe their religion so strictly....



Sub-Sahara: General
Sub-Saharan Folklore
Sub-Saharan Sacred Arts

Sub-Saharan Countries and Peoples:

Niger I: The Country

Niger II: Famine 2005

Songhay People of Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger,  & Nigeria

Hausa People of Niger and Nigeria
& Fulani People of Mali and Niger

Forward to ASIA

If you have comments or suggestions,
my email address will be found near the bottom of my home page.

Please note that I cannot help with homework questions -- you will find useful links with tips for doing your own web searches on my Search Engine page.  You will also find excellent resources on my General Reference page.  Good luck with your projects!
This page created with Netscape Gold 4.7
Text and Design:
Copyright 2005 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.

Page begun: 1am-ish, 31 July 2005 but split off from main Niger page 31 August 2005.




Hausa home page from UCL
Creating Modernities through Conversation Groups: The Everyday Worlds of Hausa Migrants in Niamey, Niger
African Studies Review,  Dec 2004  by Youngstedt, Scott M
[inc. biblio on p.10]
Interesting on painting a sacred text, then dissolving it into water and drinking it as a way of healing.
More from the same as above.
Columbia Enyclo. -- entry plus other articles --looks good.  But lots of ads intrude.  :-(
General Hausa info
Niger and Hausa films here
Fulani links



Note:  I think one of these must be where I found the gif map now on Songhay page with 3 overlapping peoples.  If  it turns up, put ref on Songhay page.