Saturday, March 17, 2007

Annotated Bibliography of Criticisms against Hausa Prose Fiction

This entry is an annotated list of critical debates and perspectives on Hausa prose fiction, often referred to as "soyayya novels". The debates occured on the pages of northern Nigerian newspapers (mainly in the Hausa language) in the early 1990s to 2002. The debates virtually stopped because the attention of the critical established had shifted to the Hausa video film which was getting established as the new focal point of cultural attack.

Hausa prose fiction is produced predominantly by young men and women in the Hausa language. The main dominant theme is romance (soyayya -- hence the label, Soyayya novels). The predominance of romantic theme in novels aimed at teen population in an Islamic society is seen as an attempt to corrupt the morals of youth in the society. These debates capture the two camps -- both pro and against the novels.

For more specific details of this Hausa prose fiction genre, see Adamu, A. U. 2006, Loud Bubbles from a Silent Brook: Trends and Tendencies in Contemporary Hausa Prose Writing. Research in African Literatures - Volume 37, Number 3, Fall 2006, pp. 133-153.



The Listings

Sherif, Hawwa Ibrahim., “Interview with Ibrahim Sheme”, Nasiha, 6 September 1991. Seminal interview with an author (Ba A Nan Take Ba) and journalist which started the whole new Hausa literature debate. In the interview, the fiery tempered writer attacked the then new crop of Hausa novelists as being one-track minded with a singular focus on soyayya. She urges for a new direction in Hausa prose fiction.

Malumfashi, Ibrahim., “Akalar Rubutun Adabin Hausa Na Bukatar Sauyi”, Nasiha, Friday 15 November 1991, p. 7. This was one of the most structural and earliest attacks on the new Hausa writings. Coming from a writer (Hausa Wankan Wuta; English, From the Eyes of My Neighbor), an academician, this particular essay conferred on the polemics of new Hausa writings some form of legitimate authority. It also became the central point on the exposition of the virtues of what I call the Imamian Paradigm of Hausa Literature which sees the writings of Abubakar Imam era as being the quintessential and only relevant Hausa literature. This article is the central core of Ibrahim Malumfashi’s main attack on the soyayya genre and the new Hausa prose fiction (from 1984). This article became the main focus of praise and attack by both writers and readers of the genre. Malumfashi accuses the writers of being culturally irrelevant. However, condescendly extols a neoclassic Hausa text, Karshen Alewa Kasa as being the most meaningfully and well-crafted book he has read, and urges those with creative skills to follow the footsteps of the classic writers to purify their literary expressions. Suggests that there are themes for Hausa writers to work on, such as poverty, education, economic depravity, rather than romantic escapism which seemed to be the only focus of the new prose fiction writers.

Bichi, Maigari Ahmed., “The Author’s Imagination” The Triumph, Tuesday March 12 and 17, 1992, p. 7 each issue. Also published as “Kano Market Literature: The Man Behind It”, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, June 20, 1997. *Eulogizes Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino as a writer and provides an insight into the Mal. Ado’s motive for writing by suggesting that Mal. Ado was motivated by personal experiences of deception in love affairs, as reflected in Mal. Ado’s first book, Inda So Da {auna (1992). Bichi claims that after the book was published, the author received about 979 letters from various readers all over the country, of which 326 were from male readers, the rest of 653 were all from female readers — many of whom actually visited his house.

Gidan Dabino, Ado Ahmad., “Zamani, Zo Mu Tafi!” Nasiha, Friday 24, 31, July 1992, p. 4. *Rejoinder to Ibrahim Malumfashi (Akalar Rubutun Adabin Hausa Na Bu[atar Sauyi, Nasiha 15/11/92). Times change, and we must change with them! Ado Ahmad argues that Ibrahim Malumfashi should not have been disdainful of the current crop of writers on the basis of their lack of deeper Western education or literary training; that creativity resides in everyone, regardless of training or qualification. Berates Ibrahim Malumfashi who eulogized specifically a neoclassical Hausa novel, {arshen Alewa {asa which Malumfashi in his original article claims to be the most meaningful book he has read. Ado Ahmad asks why Magana Jari Ce a classical Hausa novel (by Late Alhaji Abubakar Imam, the “father” of Hausa prose fiction) is still being printed, whereas the neoclassical {arshen Alewa {asa is deleted; was it because the classical text was more significant than the neoclassical one?

Malumfashi, Ibrahim., “Tsakanin ‘Gwanjo’ Da ‘Orijina’, Nasiha, Friday 7, 14, August 1992. *A rejoinder to Ado Ahmad’s rejoinder (Zamani, Zo Mu Tafi, Nasiha 24, 31/7/92). Laments being misunderstood as a critic and researcher by most Hausa writers. Attempts to educate readers, in particular Ado Ahmad, on his understanding of the differences between literature (orijina, as reflected in Kitsen Rogo, Karshen Alewa Kasa, Jiki Magayi) and novels (gwanjo, as reflected in all soyayya genre), which was his main argument in the first article. Argues that virtually all the current crop of Hausa writings, especially soyayya are not literature. Rhetorically asks why neoclassical Hausa texts like Kitsen Rogo, {arshen Alewa {asa are used as set books in Secondary school curriculum, and not a single soyayya book, and answers that schools do not exist to corrupt the minds of youth (which he argues the soyayya books do).

Adamu, Yusuf Muhammad., “Ina da Ja, Ibrahim Malumfashi!” Nasiha, Friday 21 August 1992, p. 4. *A writer defending his book (Idan So Cuta Ne) which was attacked by Ibrahim Malumfashi (Nasiha 15 November 1991) accusing the writer of using European settings with Hausa names. Argues that his contexts simply reflected the contemporary Hausa upwardly mobile and Noveau rich characters.

Gambo, Shehu., “Jigon Soyayya: Holoko Hadarin Kaka”, Nasiha, Friday 21 August 1992, p. 4. *An antagonist and follower of Ibrahim Malumfashi (q.v.). Defends Malumfashi’s attack on soyayya genre and accuses Ado Ahmad of being commercially, rather than intellectually, motivated.

Giginyu, Nasiru Mudi., “Karamin Sani {u}umi Ne: Martani Ga Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino” Nasiha, Friday 21, Friday 28 August 1992, p. 4. *A vitriolic attack on Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino, particularly the rejoinder he wrote to the paper on 24 July 1992. The writer accuses Mal. Ado of encouraging copy-cat behavior amongst Hausa adolescent girls. In particular, he argued that a girl called Fati Abdullahi in a village in Kaduna State had killed herself by throwing herself into a well, as reported in the New Nigerian, November 24, 1991. Her grisly end echoes the ending of Ado Ahmad’s first book Inda So Da Kauna, Part I, where the heroine threw herself into a well when it was clear she would not be allowed to marry the boy she loves. Mal. Nasiru accuses writers like Ado Ahmad of encouraging such bizarre acts. It was not clear from both the news story or the critique that the unfortunate girl was actually motivated into killing herself as a direct result of reading Ado Ahmad’s book. Incidentally, the heroine, in Mal. Ado’s book, survived the fall in the well.

Sheme, Ibrahim., “Raba Matasan Marubutan Hausa Fada”, Nasiha, Friday 21 August 1992, p. 4. *Ibrahim Sheme attempts to “referee” in the arena of pro, and against, soyayya genre among youth. As the editor of the Nasiha literary ‘supplement’ he stands on the high pillar of shifting through the morass of articles on both sides of the divide. This article gave a resume of the debates, and urges that the writers should contextualize their settings.

Haruna, Aishatu., “The Celebrated Hausa Writer Who Never Went To School…Ado Ahmed Gidan Dabino” The Pyramid, September 6-13, 1992. Also reprinted in New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, Friday June 20, 1997. *Eulogizes Ado Ahmed Gidan Dabino and provides a family profile on the writer who, “receives not less that 15 love letters a week…” The reproduction of this and Bichi’s article published five years earlier, indicated the rekindling interest in the soyayya genre debate, especially now that it is in English language papers, giving the debate a larger audience.

Gidan Dabino, Ado Ahmad., "Tasirin Labaran Soyayya Ga Al’umma, Musamman Hausawa", an unpublished paper presented at a Writer’s Forum Seminar on Sunday December 27, 1992, Kano. *Provides a long analytical framework on the concept of soyayya before arguing the merits of the genre from six perspectives. A very dispassionate and well written paper which neither promote nor damn the genre.

Kungiyar Matasa Marubuta, First Kungiyar Matasa Marubuta Literary Symposium, held January 9, 1993, Rumfa College, Kano. This is a video tape, containing coverage of the symposium held under the auspices of Kungiyar Matasa Marubuta of Kano, on the new Hausa writings. Papers were presented by Shehu Al[alanci, Bashari Farouk Roukbah (Hantsi Leka Gidan Kowa), and Ibrahim Malumfashi. Sheikh Aminuddeen Abubakar, a noted cleric in Kano, provided a neutral ground and a fairly linear perspective of writing and writers in Hausaland. Other noted literati included Dr. Sa’id Muhammad Gusau, the editor of Nasiha newspaper (that started the critical debates in the first place), Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino (who engaged Ibrahim Malumfashi in a war of words on what constitutes plagiarism and criticism in literature) and Khamisu Bature Makwarari, author of highly controversial Matsayin Lover. (This tape is available from Yusuf Adamu’s archives).

Gusau, Bashir Sanda., “Abinda Ke Sa Muke Rubuta Labaran Soyayya”, Mujallar Rana, 8-21 February 1993, p. 19. *Interview by Ibrahim Sheme with Bashir Sanda Gusau, a soyayya writer (Soyayya Dan[on Zumunci, Duniyar Soyyya, etc). The author reveals that his first book, Aibin Biro, published in 1988 was a political satire that led to his arrest by State Security Service agents (in then Sokoto State). He decided after than unpleasant experience to concentrate on what a theme that is safe, mundane and in vogue, soyayya. He also explains that although the central theme of his latter books, e.g. Soyayya Dan[on Zumunci which was used in critical theory class in one of the northern Universities, is love, nevertheless it ends with a philosophical message. Defends the Middle-Eastern settings of some of his books.

Mujallar Rana, “Aibin Biro Ko Amfaninsa?” Mujallar Rana, February 8-12, 1993, pp. 14-17. *The first survey of writers, critics and booksellers (who prefer to stock soyayya books “because they sell fast!”) by the editorial team of the newsmagazine conducted by Ibrahim Sheme, although mainly synthesized from earlier correspondences in the Nasiha literary supplement (Sharhi Kan Littatafai). Interlaced with literary commentary from university lecturers Islamic scholars on the genre. A very good definitive guide on the views of people on the genre.

Musawa, Zabba’u Garba., (Ms) “A Yi Rubutun Da Zai Inganta Rayuwa”, Mujallar Rana, 8-21 February 1993, p. 20. *Interview by Ibrahim Sheme with Ms Zabba’u Garba Musawa, a playwright (Da Na Sani). Urges for more writers among Hausa youth and explains the educative role of literature. Accepts soyayya genre, but would wish the writers to concentrate on more educative literature.

Danjuma Katsina, Muhammad Mu’azu., “Zuwa Ga Marubutan Soyayya”, Gwagwarmaya, No. 11, 1993, pp. 19-20. *Editor of the newsmagazine (Gwagwarmaya). A journalist, writer (Mai Yadda Ya So) and one of the two notable arch-critics of the soyayya genre (the other is Ibrahim Malumfashi (q.v.). Whereas Ibrahim Malumfashi based on criticism on the belief that the new Hausa writers will never replace Hausa literature as represented by the Imamian Paradigm, Danjuma Katsina based his revulsion of the genre on moral arguments that the genre is un-Islamic and corrupts the mind of the youth. He considers such writings as kafirci (apostasy). Not surprisingly, he was also the Deputy-Editor of Al-Mizan, a Hausa Muslim newspaper. This is an “open letter” to soyayya writers. Claims that the central theme of the genre, from his reading of many books, was against either forced or arranged marriages — a common custom among the Muslim Hausa. However argues that many of the settings are not culturally Hausa, and the cover art of the books was un-Islamic, showing as they do in some cases, boys and girls mixed together, or girls without hijab on their heads. Further argues that if the soyayya genre writers are reforming the society, then there are more, Islamic, ways of doing it than through writings which he believes have corrupting influence on youth.

Hadiza Mohammed (Ms), “‘Kafircewar’ Marubutan Soyayya” I and II, Rana, 31 May 1993, p. 25; 14 June, 1993, p. 17. *An apocryphal rejoinder to Danjuma Katsina who argued that soyayya writers had gone against Islamic teachings (kafirai) in promoting undesirable, salacious behaviors among youth (their target audience). She argues that an inappropriate methodology was used to generalize the genre.

Gidan Dabino, Ado Ahmad., “Ba Laifunmu Ba Ne”, Gwagwarmaya, No. 13, 1993, pp. 24-25. *This is an interview between Danjuma Katsina (antagonist) and Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino (protagonist) of the soyayya genre. Mal. Ado argues that before the large-scale appearance of the soyayya writings in Kano, there were social vices of sexual nature, and thus it was unfair to attribute their occurrence to the style of soyayya writers.

Danjuma Katsina, Muhammad Mu’azu., “Kafircewar Marubutan Soyayya: Raddin Editan Gwagwarmaya Muhammad Danjuma”, Gwagwarmaya 14, (1993) 1414. *A rejoinder to Hadiza Mohammed, an apocryphal defender of the genre (and most likely pen-name of a well-known male journalist). Defends himself against the charges that he called the new Hausa writers unbelievers (kafirai) in his article of Gwagwarmaya, No. 11, 1993, pp. 19-20. First claims that the writer, Hadiza Mohammed, could not be traced at the address given, and therefore was a fake name. Claims that he quoted out of context by “Hadiza Mohammed” in “her” rejoinder to his original article on Hausa writings. Warns that this was a ploy to deliberately alienate him from his Muslim brothers who are writers. Claims that his original article was terribly twisted to distort his opinions on the new Hausa writers.

Gidan Dabino, Ado Ahmad., Gudummawar Adabin Hausa Ga Addinin Musulunci, an unpublished paper presented Workshop organized by Muslim Students Union of Senior Secondary School, Dawakin Tofa, Monday May 3, 1993, Kano. *Argues that a significant portion of Hausa poetry, popular songs and writings contain Islamic messages, thus intertwining Islam and culture in all aspects. Not strictly on soyayya, but at least shows the writers sensitivity to the religious aspects of some Hausa cultural expressions. However, does bring in the soyayya theme to show how some of the writes moralize on religious issues. In particular, he chose Idan So Cuta Ne (Yusuf Adamu) where the girl attempted to unsuccessfully entice her lover to impregnate her so that they can marry since their parents do not wish them to marry.

Ahmad, Muhammad Lawal., “Marubutan Soyayya ko Mabarna Al’umma? Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo , Thursday 29 July 1993, Letters Page, p. 3. *Writes that Soyayya writers are motivated by Jews and Christians (aka Euro-American socio-cultural antecedents) to destroy Islam among Hausa adolescents. Condemns the genre and says the writers should instead use their skills in writing on Islam. Uses a Hadith from Arba’un Hadith to support his arguments against [agaggun abubuwa (created stories; although the Hadith was referring to possibly rumors etc, rather than creative writing) to prove that such writings are un-Islamic.

Malumfashi, Ibrahim., “Adabin Kasuwar Kano”, Nasiha 3 & 29 July 1994. The first Hausa language article in which Ibrahim Malumfashi created the term Adabin Kasuwar Kano (Kano Market Literature), a contemptuous comparison between the booming vernacular prose fiction industry, based around Kano State (with Center of Commerce as its State apothegm) and the defunct Onitsha Market Literature which flourished around Onitsha market in Anambra State in the 1960s. Malumfashi argues that the new Hausa writings were merely passing fad and market driven, and would likely fade away, just as the Onitsha Market Literature did. Picks up Danjuma Katsina’s moral high stand against the soyayya genre and argues the novels are responsible for corrupting the minds of youth, especially school girls.

Assada, Muhammad Kabir., “Ramin Karya Kurarre Ne”, Nasiha, 16-22 September 1994, p. 4. *Claims that some soyayya writers copy their themes mainly from Indian films. In particular, an Indian film called Romance was, according to him, plagiarized as Alkawarin Allah by Aminu Adamu. Argues that the only skill the new generation of Hausa writers have was in plagiarization of Indian movies or only in writing in love stories, and not much else. Urges that such writers should re-direct their skills in writing in other genres.

Gidan Dabino, Ado Ahmad., “Wanda Ya Raina Tsayuwar Wata Ya Hau Ya Gyra” Martani Akan Adabin Kasuwar Kano, Nasiha, Friday 16 September – 6 October 1994, (3 issues), p. 4 each issue. *This replies Ibrahim Malumfashi (Adabin Kasuwar Kano, Nasiha 3 & 29/7/94) on the attributes and values of soyayya genre. Mal. Ado claims that this particular article was heavily edited, and provided the me with the original copy which he sent — and it does seem that the most contentious points were cut off; possibly due to space limitations. In the original text, Mal. Ado asks Malumfashi to answer 29 questions (which were excluded from the published article in Nasiha, of which Ibrahim Malumfashi was the Deputy Editor!) which deal with social vices and argues that these vices existed in Hausa society long before soyayya writers appeared on the scene. He argues that the writers were merely reflecting the realities of the society. Mal. Ado also replies that a few of the soyayya books have started appearing as recommended texts in some schools (e.g. College of Science and Technology, Sokoto and Inda So Da Kauna Part I, Auren Zamani and Dan[on Zumunci; College of Education, Kano and the English translation of Inda So Da {auna Part I translated as The Soul of My Heart, 1992).

Giginyu, Nasiru Mudi., “Ina Ruwan Biri da Gada”, Martani Akan Adabin Kasuwar Kano, Nasiha, Friday 21-27 October 1994; 28 October – 3 November, 1994; 3-17 November 1994. *Accuses soyayya writers of empowering girls to rebel against their parents and their religion (Islam) by showing they have choice in their marriage affairs. Claims that soyayya writers are financially motivated and morally bankrupt.

Abdullahi, Muhammad., “Shin Marubuta Soyayya sun Kuwa San Soyayyar? Martani Akan Adabin Kasuwar Kano, Nasiha, 28 October – 3 November, 1994; 3-10 November 1994. *Presents a view on what love is and that the love portrayed in the soyayya genre is mainly salacious.

Qaseem, Muhammad., “Wankan Wuta ko Wankar Littafi?” Nasiha, Friday 11-17 November, 1994. *Accuses Ibrahim Malumfashi of plagiarizing Jeffery Archer’s Kane and Abel in a Hausa form, and serialized in Nasiha as Wankan Wuta. Also claims the book (Archer’s) was adapted into an Indian movie called Kudgaaz, and asks whether Malumfashi copied Archer or the Indian movie. Further claims that since Wankan Wuta features love as a central theme, then Malumfashi is also a soyayya writer — a genre he (Malumfashi) detests!

Aliyu, Suwaibat A., (Ms) “Sharhi Ba Zargi Ba Ne”, Nasiha, Friday 2-8 December 1994, p. 8. *Centrist. Claims that soyayya writers are inspired more by Middle-Eastern folk lore and traditions rather than Euro-American cultural influences. Argues that soyayya as a concept was a recurring theme in books published before 1990 when the soyayya genre properly took off. Accepts that some of the writers probably copy Indian film themes in their books, but also often portray the realities of the current Hausa society. Urges critics to be objective in their observations on the soyayya writers and suggests more focus on Hausa poetry, rather than soyayya writings.

Ayagi, Sani Abdullahi Yusuf., “Yabon Gwani ya zama dole.” Martani Akan Adabin Kasuwar Kano, Nasiha, Friday 12-19 May, 1995, p. 4; repeated Friday 16-22 December 1995, p. 4. *Rejoinder to Ibrahim Malumfashi (Adabin Kasuwar Kano, Nasiha 3 & 29/7/94) and Nasiru Mudi Giginyu (Ina Ruwan Biri da Gada, Nasiha 21-27/10/94). Defends soyayya writers. In particular salutes Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino who he argues that despite lack of extensive western education and degrees, yet has become a literary icon in modern Hausa prose fiction. Urges for constructive criticism and suggests that no matter how bad the soyayya books are portrayed to be, they must contain some learnable lessons. Argues that he does not believe the writers are responsible for corrupting the society. Concludes by claiming that most of the criticisms were maliciously motivated.

Yahuza, Muhammad Bashir., “Marubutan Zamani Da Adabin Zamani” Nasiha, 2-16 June, 1995 (2 issues). *Centrist. Argues that contemporary Hausa novels, especially soyayya were written without careful editorial work. This was because many of the authors were bedsit and garage publishers, who cannot afford to go the bigger publishing houses. As such, these books were marked by serious errors. Urges for a more “correct” Hausa literature.

Gidan Dabino, Ado Ahmad., "Tsokaci a Kan Labaran Soyayya", an unpublished paper presented at Workshop on Hausa Language, Culture and Literature, Center for the Study of Nigerian Languages, Bayero University, Kano, 7-11 August 1995, Kano. *Presents a resume of some of the antagonisms against the genre, and argues that it is was misunderstood. Claims that 15% of the writers were autobiographical in their writings; 65% were reflecting what was going on in the society; while the rest of the 20% write purely for pleasure.

Maizare, Abdullahi Yahaya., “Sara Da Sassaka”, Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo, Monday 13 May 1996, p. 4. *A defender of the genre of new Hausa writings. In earlier articles Hausa writers were accused of being barely literate (having only a secondary school education, and not more, e.g. Ibrahim Malumfashi’s article in Nasiha, 15/11/91) and being responsible for the moral corruption of contemporary Hausa youth through thinly disguised salacious writings. Argues that accepted Hausa literature classics such as Dare Dubu Da Daya (trans. 1933) and {arshen Alewa {asa (1982) were far more salacious than any Hausa prose fiction, and that another accepted Hausa classic, Jiki Magayi (1933) had dubious moral attributes since it focuses on revenge. Insists that soyayya writers are merely reflecting the realities of the current Hausa society.

Whitsitt, Novian., The Literature of Balaraba Ramat Yakubu and the Emerging Genre of Littatafi na Soyayya: A Prognostic of Change for Women in Hausa Society. An Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts (African Languages and Literature) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996. *Claims to be one of the first “academic” study of the genre. His analysis was from a feminist perspective, focusing attention on two of Ramat’s books (Budurwar Zuciya, and Wa Zai Auri Jahila?). He also scrutinized littatafai na soyayya looking at the social and political implications alluding to the position of women in Hausa society.

Gambo, Shu’aibu H., “A Harmful ‘Love’, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, February 21, 1997 p. 11. *A snippet. In a scathing attack on the soyayya genre and its authors, he argues that “there is a great need for the society, particularly parents, religious, social and educational authorities to intervene to check the commotion these useless writings are creating in our society..” Argues further that the writers “consist of some obnoxious teenagers and adult persons of varying ages who passed out of their secondary education with F9 here and there, or may have got a C6 credit in Hausa only on their GCE slips. Another segment of this group are some persons who are rescued from darkness by the emergency adult literacy evening classes[1] and on completion they arrogate themselves academic maturity…This group depends intoxicatingly on their ability to write Hausa with little difficulties, neglecting the essential norms and technicalities involved in proper Hausa prose…” He also accuses some “…mushroom university dons who promote these irresponsible writings by blessing them with forewords..”

Larkin, Brian., “Modern Lovers: Indian Films, Hausa Dramas and Love Novels Among Hausa Youth”, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, February 21, 26 , 1997. This paper was initially presented at the African Studies Association Annual Meeting at Orlando, Florida, U.S., November 3-6 1995; Also published as “Indian Films and Nigerian Lovers: Media and the Creation of Parallel Modernities.” Africa, Vol 67, No 3, 1997, pp. 406-439. *This article (from Africa) discusses the significance of Indian films in revealing a relatively ignored aspect of the transnational flow of culture. After discussing reasons for the popularity of Indian films in a Hausa context, it accounts for this imaginative investment of viewers by looking at narrative as a mode of social enquiry. Hausa youth explore the limits of accepted Hausa attitudes to love and sexuality through the narratives of Indian film and Hausa love stories (soyayya). This exploration has occasioned intense public debate, as soyayya authors are accused of corrupting Hausa youth by borrowing foreign modes of love and sexual relations. The article argues that this controversy indexes wider concerns about the shape and direction of contemporary Nigerian culture. Analyzing soyayya books and Indian films gives insight into the local reworking and indigenizing of transnational media flows that take place within and between Third World countries, disrupting the dichotomies between West and non‑West, colonizer and colonized, modernity and tradition. in order to see how media create parallel modernities.

Musa, Ibraheem., “Censoring the Romantics”, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 21 February 1997. *Deals with censorship issues on soyayya writers. Although he does not support censorship of authors, nevertheless he took trouble to “…make it abundantly clear that I am not in support of the activities of these weeds luxuriating on the fringes of literature. If truth be told, they are a cancer on the body of the nation’s literati…” Suggests an alternative method of censoring books through voluntary co-operative censorship involving the authors and State-agents to determine what is acceptable to society.

Adamu, Yusuf Muhammad., “Hausa Writer and Writing Today”, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, Friday 20, 27 June 1997. *A long exegesis on contemporary boko Hausa writing, with particular slant to the soyayya genre from a soyayya writer (Idan So Cuta Ne, 1989). Divides Hausa writers into four generations. First was from 1930s, represented by Abubakar Imam and co, who published works like Ruwan Bagaja, Idon Matambayi, Gan]oki, Shehu Umar; the second generation was represented by Ahmadu Ingawa and co with Iliya Dan Mai}arfi, Da’u Fataken Dare, Nagari Na Kowa, Tauraruwar Hamada; the third generation by {arshen Alewa {asa, Tsaka Mai Wuya, Mallakin Zuciyata. The fourth generation arose out of a long gap after the third generation when publishing firms found it difficult to sustain their publication and this led to the individual efforts and attempts at publishing, which gave fertile soil to the soyayya writers.

Malumfashi, Ibrahim., “The Hausa Writer and the Reading Culture”, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 20, 27 June; 4 July, 1997. *An extremely detailed and long exposition on the history of Hausa writings from earliest part of the first millennium. It is in this paper that the sobriquet KML or Kano Market Literature first appeared in English (having made a debut in Nasiha, 3 & 29 July 1994 as Adabin Kasuwar Kano). Initially designed as a contemptuous categorization of all recent (i.e. post 1984 when the genre was virtually created with Talatu W. A. Shellat’s Rabin Raina) and “unserious” Hausa novels (as opposed to original works of literature represented by the Imamian Paradigm), with particular emphasis on the soyayya genre, the term, shortened to KML was gleefully embraced, to Ibrahim Malumfashi’s chagrin, by his critics! Further states that the books were “…selling because (they) have basically the same themes liked by the youngsters; love, mar­riage, women’s role, domestic power relations, education, morality and inter‑generational struggle. Within‑a spate of 10 years, a new reading culture had been introduced and gaining wide currency daily. It has attracted such wide spate of criticism not only from the literary critics, but Hausa newspapers, maga­zines, journals, mosques, par­ents and just recently the Kano State Government that enacted an edict to check the prolifera­tion of these books. All these does not seem to affect the production of these books, as most would want…”

Sheme, Ibrahim., “Much Ado About Soyayya Writers”, (Editorial Comment), New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, Friday July 25, 1997. *Just as he acted as a referee in Nasiha when the debate got hot (21/8/92), he also steps in to provide an eloquent editorial comment after allowing all shades of opinions to be expressed. Points out that despite casting aspersions on the writers the phenomena “…has since grown into a big industry, throwing up publishing firms, filmmaking outfits, book-selling ventures, writers’ associations, and even a news journal. At the same time, the publications of this market have increased in number, volume and sophistication, becoming at the time the largest book publishing business in the country, beating by far the decidedly strong book publishing industry in the English language…” Notes that the soyayya writers “…are unstoppable. This is more so since they have not only dominated the book-selling market but have pierced and conquered the hearts of majority of Hausa readers…” Despite campaigns to destroy the genre, they have prospered. Asks (and answers!) “…so what do we do with the promoters of the KML? Crucify them? Gag them? The answer is simple: befriend them. Hug them. Give them prizes. Love them. Censoring a creative mind wouldn’t cleave it of its spirit or exorcise from it the devil some of us thought it contains. Better let the market reach its zenith, as it already obviously has, arch, and go down. Even so, we may not want a literary movement to just disappear because it would vanish with a part of our culture…”

Danjuma Katsina, Muhammad Mu’azu., “Hausa Writers: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.” New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, Friday 5 September 1997 p. 12. *Marks a significant move for the critic who had earlier labeled the writings of the new age Hausa novelists as kafirci
[2] (Gwagwarmaya, No. 11, 1993) and has now started looking at them more dispassionately in terms of the quality of the materials written. The good authors, in his classification, “..are those who write with a positive purpose in mind and, while writing they obey all the Hausa grammatical rules…Definitely, in this category the “Kano Group” of Hausa authors are in the lead..” They include Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino (In Da So Da Kauna) and Bala Anas Babinlata (Zinaru, Kwarya Ta Gari). The bad authors “…consists of those authors who are refractory to constructive criticism even as their write-ups are grammatically poor.” Examples include Aminu Abdu Na’inna (Raina Fansa) Muhammad Usman (Ban Kwana Ga Masoyi). Further, “…many women are also found in this category such as Hajiya Balaraba Ramat Yakubu (Badariyya, Wane Kare Ne Ba Bare Ba) who wrote many books, yet they are of poor quality that one would be led to think that her books were written so many decades back, before the era of excellence in Hausa literature…” The ugly authors are those who “…have been unable to develop a good style and have a tendency to write without consideration for their audiences’ feelings..” Examples cited include Adamu Aliyu (Dan-gwajin Takalmi), and “…Bilkisu Ahmad Nabature Funtua (triple worst!)(Ki Yarda Da Ni, Allura Cikin Ruwa)…”

Danjuma Katsina, Muhammad Mu’azu., “Lessons from the Abubakar Imam Interview”, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 19 December 1997. *Eulogizes an interview published in the recent issue of New Nigerian Literary Supplement (21/11/97, 28/11/97, 5/12/97, itself reproduced and translated from the original Hausa language script to English by Ibrahim Sheme from Harsunan Nijeriya Vol XVII, 1995 pp. 86-110). Paradoxically argues that modern Hausa writers “…refuse to take an idea from others. They should understand that there is nothing wrong in doing and expressing that..”; whereas the Late Abubakar Imam openly acknowledges his literary antecedents. Yet the problem of Hausa writers, especially the soyayya genre were the accusations that they copy from other cultures! Concludes by accusing that “…only few Hausa writers today would care to write and educate; most would only do so for material gain and popularity…” Concludes by hoping that “…writers who are popular, such as Ado Ahmad, will lean from Imam and write books on such topics as “The importance of women’s education” or any topic which will enlighten and encourage the society to go either for school or business for their self sustenance..”

Danjuma Katsina, Muhammad Mu’azu., “Hausa Literature: Why Novian Whitsitt Couldn’t Get It Right”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 28 February 1998 p. 15. *A critic of Novian Whitsitt’s dissertation on feminist literature in Hausaland. Points out that Whitsitt’s analysis ignores the role of Islam in Hausaland, and as such also ignores Islamic viewpoints on feminism — a perspective that the critic argues must be taken into consideration when analyzing works written by a Muslim Hausa woman. The English translations of many of the Hausa dialogs were also faulted which “clearly shows that Novian Whitsitt has produced a thesis on books he could neither understand their content nor comprehend their mode of presentation.” Cautions foreign researchers about accuracy in conducting field research on issues of culture and language, and “…they should remember that that Hausa people of today are in 1998, not 1898.”

Malumfashi, Ibrahim., “Kano Market Literature: A ‘Love’ Story”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 14, 21, March 1998. First presented as a seminar paper at the 1st Annual Seminar organized by the Creative Writer’s Club, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on February 20, 1998. *Gives a detailed analysis of book publishing in Northern Nigeria before focusing attention on the “the new creative writings, though regarded as significant in many academic and intellectual fora, are now becoming a tool in changing certain societal norms, most especially among the youth, when no other “serious” work is there to compete with them in the open market…” Argues that most of the new Hausa prose fiction author’s do not have educational backgrounds beyond secondary schools, and “most of them are not exposed to the rudiments of classical or variety of local and external literature.” Also claims they derive their influence from cinema, television and videos. Admits, however, that “the Kano Market Literature is blossoming despite the criticism and edicts. This is because the Hausa society needs literary pieces, it needs creativity, it needs to move ahead with time, as such it needs to document its ups-and downs, since the “serious” literature is nowhere to be found.

Gumel, Hamisu Abdullahi., “Of Hausa Novels and Moral Decadence”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 16 May, 1998 p. 14. Also published in Sunday Triumph, 22/2/98. *An acidulous attack on the soyayya genre. Argues that “…today Hausa novels have become the agents of cultural destruction and therefore a menace to the society. The contemporary Hausa novelists, knowingly or unknowingly, are posing a threat to the existence of their society’s moral and cultural norms. The danger here is that these books, which now flood our markets, full of obscenity in total disregard of the culture of the community or the language in which they are written are undermining its very existence…” Claims that recent spades of suicides and murders by girls in unacceptable matrimonial circumstances were influences by such writings. Harks back at the “…good old days when the early Hausa literary writers were using literature as a vehicle for advancing the Hausa community and of portraying the dignity of its people and culture….” Accuses soyayya genre writers of “…writing for fame and money, and for the sake of being widely known. Most of them lack the creative mind. Besides, their writings are linguistically dwarfed…” Besides being subversive, he also claims that Hausa writers “…are a poor replica of Western literature and are bent on destabilising the culture of the Hausa people…”

Adamu, Yusuf Muhammad., “Long Live The Hausa Novel!”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, June 6-12, 1998, p. 15. *A rejoinder to Hamisu Abdullahi Gumel (Of Hausa Novels and Moral Decadence, New Nigerian Weekly, 16/5/98) A spirited defense of the genre from a writer (Idan So Cuta Ne, Ummulhairi). Argues that “…literature is a reflection of social happenings. Writers do not exist in a vacuum, but rather write out of their accumulative experiences derived from the existing social framework and reality, operating in the society in which they live.” Further argues that “…when a writer writes bout social inequality, brutalisation, forced or arranged marriages, moral decadence, cultural imperialism, etc, it is because such things abound in his society…If, therefore, readers and social critics do not like what Hausa novelists write they should also dislike and re-assess the social-psychology and social framework existing in contemporary Hausa society…”

Yusuf, Aisha Umar., “The Great Soyayya Debate”, Weekly Trust, June 19/26, 1998. *Accuses the soyayya books of being “…virtual replicas of contemporary European literature…” Having “read only ten of these contemporary Hausa novels…” and admitting that she is “…by no means an authority on the subject…” castigates the writers for portraying settings and contexts not characteristic of Hausa society. “…some of the scenes one encounters in soyayya are not what obtain in real-life Hausa courtship and romance…” Cites three examples from the books she read to strength her arguments about the alien cultures portrayed in the books, which included an aeronautic engineer playing a flute on the streets of Jos for his girlfriend (Zuwaira Isa’s Cin Amanar {auna ). Advocates for a censorship board which can “…correct cases of misinformation such as the ones quotes above, as well as ensure that some moral and linguistic standard is adhered to. It should consist of Hausa linguists from our universities, learned Muslim clergy and other responsible leaders of thought…The time to do something about them is now, if not we may have genuine case to regret later.”

Abbas, Halima., “New Trends in Hausa Fiction”, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 11, 18, July; 1 August, 1998. *This was a post-graduate seminar presentation of the Department of Nigerian and African Languages, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria held on June 3, 1998 towards an M.A. degree. *Focuses attention on the literary aspect of the novel as a framework and attempted to use the framework in analyzing soyayya books. Argues that the genre was a protest against the Hausa classicist novel writing styles (as iconized by the Late Alhaji Abubakar Imam). Urges for the continuation of the books and wants the authors to be encouraged to write more “properly”.

Adamu, Yusuf Muhammad., “Hausa Novels: Beyond the Great Debate”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 18 July 1998, p. 14. *A rejoinder to Aisha Umar Yusuf (The Great Soyayya Debate, Weekly Trust, 19 & 26/6/98). Defends the trenchant view that the Hausa “…novel as an entity cannot be stopped. There is nothing wrong if bad books are discouraged. What I will not like to see is negating the contemporary Hausa novel. If all Hausa novelists are discouraged by general and subjective criticism it is as good as saying farewell to the Hausa novel forever…” Argues further that “…the Hausa people are better at listening and talking than at writing. Hausa society has no interest in it its creative literature and has neglected it…” and wonders why a whole legion of Hausa neoclassical writers have stopped writing. “…so if those that are supposed to be writing sense failed to, those who can write nonsense have very reason to do so until good writers emerge…”

Funtua, Bilkisu S. Ahmed., “I Write To Enlighten Northern Women”, New Nigerian Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 1& 15, August 1998. *The first and most in-depth interview given by a female soyayya writer. So far all the flak had been absorbed by Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino. Most of the female writers had decided to keep quite about the raging thunder. It is therefore a tribute to Ibrahim Sheme, the editor of the Supplement who was able to arrange to interview the most prolific female soyayya writer. She explains that her books were more like real-life soap-operas, and that she attempts to be as moral as possible. Her central theme is female empowerment, but within the establishment, thus eschewing feminist tendencies.

Danjuma Katsina, Muhammad Mu’azu., “Death to the ‘soyayya’ Novel!”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 5 September 1998, pp. 14-15. *A rejoinder to Yusuf Adamu’s Hausa Novels: Beyond the Great Debate New Nigeria Weekly, 18/7/98). Claims that parents would prefer to buy prayer genre books for their children than soyayya genre books, because “…in a Hausa traditional set-up no parent can buy a love story book for his child. Not that love does not exist in a traditional Hausa society, but parents would rather teach their wards to pray than how to love…” Ironically acknowledges a vital achievement of the soyayya genre by stating that “…we discovered that many people learned how to read as a result of the influences of soyayya novels, but later turned their attention to prayer books…” Concludes by stating that “…looking at the background of these books nothing beneficial will come out of them but foolishness, lack of direction and immorality…”

Danjuma Katsina, Muhammad Mu’azu., “The ‘Best Hausa Books’ of 1997/98”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 17 October 1998, p. 15. *The single apostrophe around best of Hausa books, possibly added by the editor reflect a wry sense of irony. Danjuma Katsina has been the most destructive critic of the soyayya genre (labeling their writings kafirci, immoral, etc), and yet in this article comes up with a best seller list. Although the list also contains non-fiction works, yet the first three positions were taken up by soyayya books! His judgmental meter includes the book being educative, written in standard Hausa, critical of immoral acts, teaches morality and is appealing to readers. Based on all these the best is Zinaru by Bala Anas Babinlata (the ugly writer of Danjuma’s earlier categorization, see Danjuma Katsina, Hausa Writers: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, New Nigerian, 5/10/97). Another “ugly” writer in his earlier classification was Bilkisu S. Ahmed Funtua (“triple worst!”) at the third place with Ki Yarda Da Ni. Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino, the “good” writer and best now emerges second place with Duniya Sai Sannu which enamored the critic so much that he suggests it “…could even be recommended or our schools…”

Mansur, Ahmed., “Re: The ‘best’ Hausa Books 1998”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 19 December 1998 p. 15. *Supports Danjuma Katsina’s The ‘Best Hausa Books’ of 1997/98”, New Nigerian Weekly, 17/10/98), and writes to “amplify other salient issues which I strongly believe have derailed the beauty and philosophy in the art of writing nowadays…” Argues that “…under normal conditions, the increasing enthusiasm writing is good for Hausa literature, though many of the novels available remain virtually inauspicious, even when evidence points to the contrary…” Extols neoclassically written Hausa books (such as Mallakin Zuciyata and Kitsen Rogo “so far the best of their kind I read in recent times”) and laments that “…today’s novels have been robbed of taste and decency because of failure of logic, poor methodological outline and lack of clear thinking…The writing culture is overtaken by all comers and it seems to be driven by economic forces alone at the expense of enriching the Hausa customs and traditions…By manipulating the unsavoury trends in our marriage system, most novels are irrevocably damaging the attitudinal and ideological perception of readers towards the marriage institution, thereby throwing the youths, particularly girls, into the devil’s arms. Nudity, sex, drugs and violence — themes Western writers gleefully promote — are surreptitiously entering the art of writing, a phenomenon that does good to nobody…”

Abdullahi, Iliyasu Ibrahim., Tsokaci A Kan Kagaggun Labaran Soyayya: Yanayinsu Da Sigoginsu. Unpublished M.A. (Hausa) thesis, Nigerian Languages, Bayero University, Kano 1999. *One of the first in-depth studies of the genre. Lists a total of one hundred books and their authors, and selected six for a structural analysis. He was more concerned with form and structure, rather than any moralizing of the genre.

Abubakar, Muhammad Mujtaba., Litattafan Soyayya a Ma’aunin Hankali Da Na Shari’a. Privately published. School of Business and Publish Administration, The Polytechnic, Kebbi, 1999. *A religious attack on the soyayya genre in which the author, using copious quotations from the Qur’an and the Hadith, argues that the only love approved by Islam is legal (married) love; any exposition on love outside marriage is un-Islamic, and on this basis, the entire lot of soyayya genre stand damned because they encourage immoral behavior amongst Muslim youth. He also attacks the recent crop of Hausa home videos, which perhaps not surprisingly, were hotwired to the soyayya writings.

Adamu, Abdalla Uba., “Hausa Literature in the 1990s”, (in two parts), New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 24 April 1999, p. 14 (Part I); Saturday May 1, 1999, p. 14 (Part II). *Just as the debate on the relevance and direction of the new Hausa writings seemed to be getting cold, Dr. Abdalla Uba Adamu, a science educationist, entered into the fray and rekindled it. Writing as “…a protagonist of Hausa writing and writers in general..”, argues for the relevance of the soyayya genre within the context of four uses of a novel in European literary settings. The main focus of the author is on encouraging reading habits among Hausa adolescent and youth. Further contends that “…it is ludicrous to presume that such mere erotic imageries (as reflected in many soyayya books) are capable of corrupting the whole society, and gives a naïve view of society. It also says nothing about responsible parenting which many parents shirk away from and point accusing fingers at soyayya writers. Critics always also ignore the endings of such novels which reveals their inherent morality…” Believes that “…banning some of the books such as had been done by the Kano ANA or setting up a Government committee as done in Kano to scrutinize the manuscripts are both counter-productive measures which will stifle further creativity. Creativity cannot be muzzled by self-appointed guardians of public morality. If the book is distasteful enough, the market will reject it — sending a powerful enough message to the author to revise strategies and focus…”

Malumfashi, Ibrahim., “Beyond the Market Criticism”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 15 May 1999 p. 14, 15. Published also in Weekly Trust, 28 May 1999. *A rejoinder to Abdalla Uba Adamu, whom Malumfashi considers “merceneristic”. As argued: “…by making inferring that soyayya books are describing today, Abdalla is merely being atavistic. Does he mean to tell us that between 1990 and 1998 the Hausa society is rabidly engrossed in love and romance? Does that mean the era of SAP and Abachanomics were an era of gigantic love escapades and romantic topsy‑turvy? I am not sure if that hypothesis can stand the test of time. This is because the period between 1991‑1998 was the worst period in the life of most households: pervasive poverty, hunger, misery, school drop‑outs), riots, political miscarriages, corruption, prostitution, and thuggery were (are?) the picture that confronted (confronts?) us. How come then love and romance took the centre‑stage in our chapbooks and not any of these economic problems?..” Alternatively refers to soyayya genre as chapbooks or Kano Market Literature. Argues for a purity in Hausa literature, warning that “…as I have been saying for years, our preoccupation with the Kano chapbooks, the drums we beat in their commendation and ululation, our over‑reliance on these young writers as our literary saviours will, if care is not taken, bring down Hausa literature…I said it over and over again, that market pamphleteering is just a vogue where it thrived. It was never taken to be a “contemporary literature” but an adventure within a given literary landscape…”

Malumfashi, Abdulaziz S., “Babinlata: A Writer With A Difference”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 22 May 1999 p. 15. *Eulogizes Bala Anas Babinlata, a first generation soyayya writer (Kulu, Da Ko Jika?, Zinaru, Bakar Ashana, Rana Zafi). Claims that Babinlata’s books “…have a unique feature and they differ greatly from those of his colleagues in terms of style and ideas…Among the characteristics of his books are the accurate description of events, places, things and people, correlation of paragraphs and events, descriptive opening, superb dialogue, as well as suspense, to mention but a few…If you feel sleepy, don’t even start reading Babinlata’s book, else you will remain awake until you finish reading it!…” Concludes by stating that “…with time and if Babinlata continues to exhibit his literary talent, he would be the Abubakar Imam of our time…”

Sheme, Ibrahim., “Of Market Forces and the Hausa Novel”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 5 June 1999. *A rejoinder to Ibrahim Malumfashi’s Beyond Market Criticism (New Nigerian Weekly, 15/4/99). Argues that increased literacy level as more schools weaned students, the widespread introduction of American home videos due to accessibility to new technology as well as the burgeoning sophsitication/Westernisation of the Hausa society have necessitated a change in Hausa society. “...Thus anyone who assumed our society was not a part of the global village should see his doctor immediately. The society cannot be an island unto itself but is unstoppably susceptible to external influence. The KML (Kano Market Literature) may appear foreign, but it’s not wholly so; it was made up of both local and foreign ingredients...” Concludes that “…However, like all grains, there can be found among them bad ones, but that shouldn’t push us into burning the farm where they are produced or the barn in which they are kept. Willy ninny, they (Hausa soyayya writers) have documented a part of our culture even if it includes the bad part. For this, we should hug their authors or write the right alternatives our­selves…”

Adamu, Abdalla Uba., “Idols of the Market Place: Literary History, Literary Criticism and the Contemporary Hausa Novel”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, June 12, 1999, pp. 14-15. *A rejoinder to Ibrahim Malumfashi’s Beyond Market Criticism (New Nigerian Weekly, 15/4/99). Deals with the mechanism of literary criticism by focusing on the moral worth of literature and the nature of its relationship with reality. Argues that the novelist, in whatever social circumstances, is an interpreter of the society. The Hausa society has had to rely for years on classical works to provide an interpretation of a society no longer in tune with current social realities. Also claims that some contemporary soyayya novels like Bala Anas Babinlata’s Zinaru are “…far more relevant in analyzing today’s problems than Shehu Umar. If the novelist is seen as moral interpreter of the society, then he must operate within his natural medium, unhampered by cloying and suffocating classicist paradigmatic shackles…”

Imam T/Wizirchi, Abdullahi Garba., Tsokaci Da Kalailaicewa a kan Litattafan Soyayya na Hausa, Seminar Presentation in Bayero University, Kano, Wednesday June 16, 1999, Department of Nigerian Languages. *The speaker was inspired into writing the paper as a result of being a field assistant to an American postgraduate student, Novian Whitsitt (q.v.) Mr. Whitsitt wrote out eleven questionnaire items, to which Mallam Garba provided written responses. It is this, as it were, completed questionnaire, that Mallam Garba presented to the crowd in BUK. Thus the paper was written in a form of question-answer style. It provides the authors’ view on the predominantly evil effects of soyayya genre, which according to him, range from encouraging stealing among youth (so that they can buy the books they are now hooked on to) and mass failure in examinations by girls, to poor housekeeping by housewives (who were constantly engrossed in reading these types of books).

Adamu, Abdalla Uba., “Hausa Literature and Information Technology in the decade of the 1990s”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, 3 July, 1999, pp. 14-15. *Focuses attention on a pioneering work which led to the development of Hausa hooked characters for the PC using Fontographer 3.5, and how the fonts were distributed as “public domain” shareware to literary centers and authors in Kano. Claims that the availability of the fonts in 1995 boosted the production of Hausa books making them easier to read due to accentuation.

Ibrahim, Malumfashi, “Dancing Naked in the Market Place:”, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, July 10, 1999 p. 14-15. *A reply to the various criticisms (Abdalla Uba Adamu, NNW, 12/6/99; A. S. Malumfashi, NNW 22/5/99; and Ibrahim Sheme, NNW 5/6/99), of his Beyond the Market Criticism discourse (NNW 15/5/99; as well as Weekly Trust 28/5/99). Argues that “…most writers are dancing naked in the marketplace…” since they keep on grafting ideas from other sources to make up their stories — thus stripping themselves bare to reveal their real lack of originality. Spent considerable time trying to prove that both William Shakespeare and Alhaji Abubakar Imam relied heavily on other people’s works. While he accepts this is an established tradition in the literary world, he berates Hausa soyayya writers of being incapable of effective grafting. Points out, for instance, that Ibrahim Sheme's Kifin Rijiya is “…another pervasive transmutation of Imam's Ruwan Bagaja which in the long run did not serve the encomium of realism and fantasy. Sheme's caricature dabbled more into the fantasizing…” Argues that Hausa writers lack the sophistication of European “…writers' mindset and their wide range of readings…” to successfully graft ideas into effective story-lines. According to him, “….our writers parrotically graft an idea and reproduce it without letting it germinate….” Concludes that although the recent Hausa novels may “…serve as a token in opening new vistas, especially reading culture among less-literate market women, young school leavers and married women….” it will never save “…Hausa prose fiction from extinction! What the market literature is now doing is lullabying us to deep slumber colonising our thoughts in romantic delirium, instead of liberating us from the clutches of capitalism and its local comprador collaborators…”

Adamu, Abdalla Uba., “The Lexicon of Love: A Review of Tsokaci Da Kalailaicewa a kan Litattafan Soyayya na Hausa”, Seminar Presentation in Bayero University, Kano, Wednesday June 16, 1999, Department of Nigerian Languages, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff August 21 and August 28, 1999. *A review of the seminar presentation by Imam T/Wizirchi (q.v.), which itself was a questionnaire survey answer for Novian Whitsitt (q.v.). Argues that the seminar paper lacked empirical bases for many of claims made, such as that soyayya novels were responsible for mass failure of examinations among school girls; their presence also encourages petty theft by boys who wanted to read them and having no money therefore steal some to buy them (!); and that all cases of marital problems were caused by housewives who read the novels.

Tilde, Aliyu, “Prudence and the Contemporary Hausa Novel”, Weekly Trust, August 16, 1999 p. 18. *As an advocate of the Imamian Paradigm of Hausa Literature, argues that the soyayya books will never stand the test of time in terms of quality. “To expect that these books will stand the test of time and be accepted within academic circles as genuine literary contributions is least deserved by any person who might have passed through a degree programme.” Castigates the soyayya books as being “…poorly conceived, poorly written and poorly published. They are nowhere to be compared with the standard literature of the “Imam” and “Suleiman Katsina” eras. Acknowledges, however, that the soyayya books “…might have simply filled a vacuum created by the recent incapacity of our Hausa specialist holding a degree or a Ph.D. in the subject.” Accepts that mainstream publishing houses may not wish to publish the recent spate of Hausa novels, but points out that the “…this should not discourage good writers particularly during the age of desktop publishing…other channels like the Internet will soon open its arms at a much cheaper cost than even desktop publishing…”

Aliyu, Mohammed Dantala., “Why some academicians ‘hate’ the soyayya novel’, New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, September 25, 1999 p. 14. *Another critic of the genre who noted the recurrence of the debates on the genre in 1999 particularly in New Nigerian Weekly. Argues that “…too shameful it would be should the soyayya books find their way into the classroom. The soyayya heroes and their protagonists academicians like Dr. Abdalla Uba Adamu should be prudent in the role they are currently playing in this debate. Recall the adage da ]an gari akan ci gari (the enemy within). Adamu may turn out to be the ]an gari (the enemy) who, in blind fantasy, threw away intellectualism and betrayed his colleagues…” Urges for a return to “ideal” (i.e. Imamian) Hausa literature. Ends with a prayer that “…it is our hope that these novels will be kept out of schools, as was done in Europe to Mills and Boon, Caribbean Caresses, etc. Antagonists of the soyayya pamphlets are not constituting themselves as authorities and should not be mistaken as such…”

Pindiga, Habeeb Idris., “Soyayya novels are the real Hausa literature” New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, October 23, 1999 p. 14. *A fiery rejoinder to Aliyu Mohammed Dantala’s fears that soyayya books could find their way into classrooms. Asks, rhetorically, “…which is the ideal literature of Hausa? The plagiarized compositions o of the Alhaji Imams or the translated versions of Garba Funtuwas? Or it is the crime stories of the Bature Gagares or the vengeance packets of the John Tafida Wusasas? Tracing the history of Hausa novel writing, one ends up finding as great as were plagiarized, translated, or stolen from various Arabian and European literary works. So if there is anything ideal in Ruwan Bagaja…Jiki Magayi…etc what makes Inda Alkawari, Tauraron Zuciyata, Wa Zai Auri Jahila? and Zinaru unacceptable?…In my opinion, it would be worthier to teach/study the moral lessons packed in Balaraba Ramat Yakubu’s soyayya book, Wa Zai Auri Jahila? Than the barbarian antiquated compositions like Shehu Umar and collections like Ruwan Bagaja and Iliya Dan Maikarfi. Who cares for “labarun aljannu?” or “labarun barayin zamanin jahiliyya” in this modern world?.

Adamu, Abdalla Uba., “Emotions in Motion: Sleaze, Salacity, Moral Codes and Hausa Literature” New Nigerian Weekly Literary Supplement — The Write Stuff, November , 1999 p. 14.*Another rejoinder to Dantala’s September 25 1999 article. This argues that “…it is often forgotten that it is the society that creates literature; not the other way round. There is no single scene, behavior, or act described in, say, Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino’s Kaicho! or Yusuf Adamu’s Idan So Cuta Ne that is not a common mode of behavior in any society. Talking about them does not necessarily provide a template for readers to emulate; it merely draws attention to them and their unpleasant consequences….” Concludes by stating that “….if we want sanitize Hausa literature, then we must sanitize the Hausa society, for literature is a reflection of society and is a creation of society. We must acquire the habit of responsible parenting. We must find ways of controlling the freaks, sex weirdoes and monsters — the real enemies within — that are prevalent in our society hiding under the façade of moral purity. So long as these perverts exist, they will continue providing endless source of inspiration for writers…”


Abdalla Uba Adamu (December 2002)

[1] A barely concealed attack on Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino and Ms Balaraba Ramat Yakubu who both became writers after graduating from Adult Literacy classes.
[2] Kafirci is non-belief in God’s messages. The critic used the expression to refer to participation in any activity that is expressly prohibited by Islam.

2 comments:

Aliyu Abdullahi Dange. said...

This work- the summary of debates on the authenticity of Hausa Soyayya Novels also called 'Kano Market Literature' is a document that should be read now and even preserve for future reference, It illustratas efforts made by 'pros' and 'anti' of the burning issue of the Emergence Youth Writers in Hausa in atleast the past two decades. My heart-felt congratulations to all the actors.

Muhammad Abdullahi said...

It is really very interesting, and I wished to see any progress in the translation of Hausa novels, from 1930 to present.
Muhammad Kano