Malam Aliyu na Mangi was the leading poet of the Hausa in the mid-20th century. Born in 1895, within his first year he lost his sight through an attack of measles and smallpox. Despite this, he became a Malam (a Hausa expression loaned from the Arabic word ‘Mu’alim’ that means ‘teacher’) learning by heart the texts required to become an Islamic scholar.
Like other Hausa poets, Aliyu developed his style through live performances to groups of the pious. Whilst the poems deal with Muslim religious themes such as praising the Prophet, Aliyu’s vocabulary and style also embraces the humour and wit that is traditional of Hausa oral poetry.
We give thanks to the Lord of the Worlds
for the bounty bestowed on us in no small measure…