A Hausa praise poem (see also Rano and Bawa Jangarzo). Daura, one of the ancient Hausa kingdoms, suffered a succession dispute in 1806, leading to the creation of three separate states. These praises are addressed to Abdu dan Tsoho, also known as Lukudi, whose title was Sarkin Daura. He ruled (1809-1825) the second of these new states, and they vividly reflect the insecurity on his position.

You boy, take heed of the groundnut that sprouts a second year! (1)
The old one, he can make spells.
Father of Jiro, father of Nuhu, (2)
Son of the old one, master of malams. (3)
There is no more malicious gossip, O Daura people,
He has subdued the intractable ones. (4)
Know that it is he who has done this thing,
Not you, O Kanuri! (5)
The envious ones have disappeared.
There is no more malicious gossip, O Daura people.
Father of Yariri, he was made king, the son of Magaji. (6)
Of you they say, “the son of the queen-mother has inherited Daura.” (7)

from A History of Islamic Verse
Mervyn Hiskett,
(London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 1975), 3-4.


Footnotes

  1. The exact details of the dispute that has divided the dynasty are given, but the new king, addressed insultingly as “boy”, is warned that the past is not over and done with. “The old one”, the deposed ruler, can still “make spells”.
  2. The Sarkin’s sons
  3. malams” are men learned in the study of the Qur’an
  4. The poet claims the succession dispute is over, but it obviously isn’t.
  5. Not identified, but “Kanuri” was obviously opposed to the succession.
  6. Magaji”, the Sarkin’s father.
  7. The Sarkin inherited the throne unusually, through his mother.