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Hausa A brief walk into the lives of Africa's second largest ethnic group

They speak the Hausa language, which happens to be the language with the largest number of speakers across Africa.

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200 Nigerian tribes and where you can find them play

200 Nigerian tribes and where you can find them

(Voa hausa)

Hausa is the second largest tribe in the whole of Africa.

Not too many people can tell the difference between the Hausas, Kanuris, and Fulanis.

The reason for this could be for the fact that they are widely distributed geographically and have intermingled with many different peoples.

The Hausas are mainly spread across the Sahel, which consists  parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, extreme north of Nigeria, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon, Central African Republic and extreme north of Ethiopia, the Hausas are a people with rich cultural heritage.

They speak the Hausa language, which happens to be the language with the largest number of speakers across Africa.

However, in Nigeria, they are located mainly in the North-western part of the country; adjoining southern Niger.

This area is mostly semi-dry grassland or savanna that are dotted with cities and surrounded by farming communities.

And the cities of this region include Kano, Sokoto, Zaria, and Katsina.

As a people, it is more like a custom for families to live together in a large house (family compound) that include a man, his wives, his sons, and their wives and children.

Hausa girls play

Hausa girls

(Home town)

Hence the cooperation of relatives in activities such as farming and trade.

It is, however, important to note that this lifestyle is mostly lived by rural dwellers; as it is not the case with those living in urban regions.

Nevertheless, this cooperation still exists among relatives in the cities. Because they do not only tend to collaborate in business activities, they also live not too far from each other.

Obviously, it is this togetherness the Hausas usually exhibit among themselves even when they are far away from home.


To the vast majority of Hausa people, Islam has become their way of life. It almost impossible to find a core Hausa who is not a devout Muslim.

Aa a matter of fact, from about the age of six, Hausa children attend Qur-anik schools where teachings are based on Islamic doctrines.

They learn to recite the scriptures and learn about the practices, teachings, and morals of Islam. By the time they reach adulthood, many achieve high levels of Islamic scholarship.

With a strong belief in Allah, the most beneficent and merciful, they practice the doctrines of Islam which include praying five times a day.

Muslims observing prayer session play

Muslims observing prayer session



However, scattered here and there within the rural areas are a small group of people who for reasons known to them choose to practice the Maguzawa religion.

But Maguzawa is not a religion per say. It is a name given to those who resisted the Islamic faith from Shehu Usman Fodio and continue with the general Hausa or the known Hausa tradition which includes the worshiping of nature spirits with the help of idols.

Food and clothes

The dominant food among the Hausas includes grains (sorghum, millet, or rice) and maize. They are usually ground into flour for a variety of foods.

Breakfast often consists of porridge. And sometimes it includes cakes made of fried beans (kosai) or wheat flour (funkaso).

While lunch and dinner usually include a heavy porridge known as "Fura." It is served with a soup or stew (miya).

Most soups are made with ground or chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers. To this are added spices and other vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin, and okra. Small amounts of meat are eaten. Beans, peanuts, and milk also add protein to Hausa diets.

However, when it comes to attire, the Hausa men are distinguished by their elaborate gown.

Majority of them wear large, flowing gowns known as babban riga. They also wear colorful embroidered caps called huluna.

Hausa men play

Hausa men

(Naira land)

The women, on the other hand, wear a wrap-around robe made of colorful cloth with a matching blouse, head tie, and shawl.


Traditionally, Hausa marriage is based on Islamic rites. Although the ceremony is similar to the marriage of some Nigerian culture, it is, however, not as expensive as most of them.

The process preceding the marriage is also similar to that of most cultures across the country.  It usually begins with what is known as "Na gani ina" meaning, I like what I see.

Here the groom-to-be is accompanied by his family members and friends (men only) to visits the bride's family. And of course they do not go empty-handed; they go with gifts and fruits. Kola nuts must be included as well.

The gifts can either be accepted or rejected by the brides' father. If it is accepted, the groom is then permitted to see the bride.

However, this permission is solely purposed for the two of them to know each other’s likes and dislikes: Intimacy is strictly discouraged.

After this, if the girl feels comfortable with marrying the man, she will give her consent. And it is now left for the brides' family to communicate the approval to the groom's family.

ALSO READ: The origin, marriage, food, and dressing of the Fulani people





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