Title: Mamman Dili Sawa : his own biography (typescript, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095982/00001
 Material Information
Title: Mamman Dili Sawa : his own biography (typescript, 1973)
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Mshelia, Tam
Cohen, Ronald ( Compiler )
Copyright Date: 1973
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095982
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

?. Rsehlis

Ino'rmant: amman Dili Sava
Age 62 years old
Topic: His own Biography
I was born in 1911 by Bura parents Eiadia and Dalipa -
in Kutamular Garkida.
Jy father is a father and also my mother. They farmed
guinea corn, beans and a little groundnuts, in those days,
people do not sell food since everyone is a farmer thereforeS
groundnuts being a cash crop today was not farmed much.
I am the first born of my father, not my mother because
I have two half-brothers which she gave birth to by another
husband he died and so she married my father, not because
they were related.
I eanat quite e0o0lT rat if I was sick and was taken to
witehdoctors when still on the back months old only. I was
breast fed and I was also given hot water and Naha this is
a type of red mould fomud on water surface and dried burnt this
is then mixed with oil and varm water and is fed to babies. I
was a healthy baby and in those days, mothers feed their babies
on milk breast for three years before they start feeding
on solid food children. This was to make the child strong
and healthy. Today, this is not so because there more
variety of babies food and mothers are rather busier than before.
When I stopped breast feeding at the age of three, I was
given to my father's sister. This was to promote friendship and
togetherness between them. She had her own child alst by then*
Also by this time, my mother has given birth to a baby girl -
I have a baby tna&u of Plasar maybe because I was, born
during the Fulani War, I can't tell.
S At the age of four, my aunty used to leave me and her son
Birma Usman at home while she goes to the farm. Mothers carry
their young children (age birth to three years) to the farm.

T, Nahelia

S hey keep the. child near them in a shade while they go on
farming. This is because they feed them any time the child
cries. lot timed feeding.
We were 3eft at home alone with the sick. There was no
fear of slave raiders or theives because this hal3ened only in
days before my time.
At about this age, I don't know why, but my father moved
off from Kutamular and started a compound at Dzika. It was
too far from me to go but my parents used to come and visit
us. When I was about six and a half years old, I was taken
back to ay parents at Dzika about three miles from Garkida
3.W. I don't know why I was taken back.
My father married only my mother, but at that time many
had more than one wife. There was no religion that stopped
that nor was it customary bad. Our religion was haptu and we
had a haptua That haptu was just for our compound and I was
the one who took it after my father died. But I threw it
away when I later became bapticed and I still know where it
is today.
We the small ones did not perform any duties children
are only concerned with the haptu feast or food. It was our
father that looked after it. Moreover, there is not much -
done in the worshipping of a hpptu apart from the beggik W~en
its help is needed on occasion of sickness of its member or
for protection. The worship is just the believe you have in

At the time I went to Dzika, my mother had other babies
but they died still young. So I was with my sister Watailpi
and also with the second born of my mother to her first husband.
This half-brother fell down on a tree and was hurt, he later
died, When I was nine years old, I was brought back to my
aunty again, I then started herding goats. The goats were for
my aunty and her husband, I was then bigger than Usmax her son,
bA4* iA^~ t ifM- sk Sr jdfe- hU20/lv

T. sahelia

We used to have wars, zara by sara (the ame as written
of the: others). In one of these wars, I was a victim and
had ay head broken. I went on fighting with a broken head
until we were separated by elders who heard shouts. (The war
was getting too much dangerous because there were many broken
heads and arms so some boys started shouting for help.)
In my case we go to the farm early in the morning al
about 6 o'clock. We then some back at 8 #.m. and go herding.
When we come home at about 5.50 in the evening, we don't go
to the faar. At first I used to go to my aunty's farm, but
later when I could do proper farming like a man (age 12) I
started going to my stepfather's farm aunty's husband's farm.
When the European missionaries came, I was still herding
goats. The Pabirs eame when I was nine years old. I suffered
for them because we had to cut grass for their horses.
I did not stay long herding when the Europeans eame. I
started working as a houseboy in the morning and then go to
school at about 10 o'loek. I wasn't stopped by my aunty
because I was also sleeping in the missionery quarters as
When I stopped herding the goats did not have proper eare
and later died or sort of degenerated.
I started schooling free and we were always begged to omae,
if you don't come they go even to your house and beg you. We"
did not understand the benefit. They used to tell us that ii
the future e would have to buy education. They were really
good people and none like them has ever done us good up to today
They always started with prayers and that surprised us
because they ask us to do as they do it was strange to bow
your head and close your eyes when praying. Their prayer was
also for us and we were surprised to learn that they beg ferSo
someone greater than themselves we regarded them the greatest.
After school and also when we go to our sleeping places, they (1A
k1~ a~H~Y

T.. ishelia,

I schooled up to primary three and I followed za master
Xklp to Dili that is why I was ealed Maimna Dili we were
the ones that started civlizing Dili village that is, I was
among the first to bring education and religion to them. I
was taken because Kulp said the people would not like the
Europeans if a blacman was net with them they were aaftaid
of Xiropeans and I was to lessen their fears.
I stayed there for very long and I started teaching
classes one, two, three at Dili. I never got any school then
Sowards. I was also an avangilist at Dii. I was paid 12s
S(twelve shillings) for all my jobs. I was no more a houseboy
Sby then and I was working in the hospital at Lassa, I alter-
nate my duties of hospital and eas Evangilist but always
taught in the mornings to school children.
If. Kulp went back to America for holidays, I then came
to eGrkida to get married. The woman was for someone, but I
got her and took her to my unole, my mother's brother. In
those days you hide such woman who were not meant to be your
wife but someone'a. In such ease, you are forced by the lai
to pay thirty shilling (O0s). I paid that and took her to
inahng. We were then already married. This going to Hinbng
was to avoid trouble from her supposed to be husband.
I then took her to Iassa. Y father had already died -
he died of wild animal attack when I was eight years old. I
continued with my work at lassa, I had a farm there and
continued teaching at Bili, I had to learn Nrghi because I
was teaching in N arghi language^
I gave birth to three children Rubeooa, Bitrus, Yusufa.
Ip job was too much I was an Evangelist, I was a teacher, I
was a hospital worker, and I buy building materials for the
missionaries. I then told them 'I was tired and wanted to
resign. They begged me to ocatinue but I refused and I came
back to Garkida.

The missioanries, seeing that I was a hard worker they
gave e work at Virkguri as a shopkeeper. I later became a
head labourer. I continued my farigr in Qarkida.
Rubecea went to school but later refused. MaLy children
refused because the regulations wase ore than they could bear.
Jitrus was a herds boy for one of the missioneries" r,
Royer. He was put n school by Mr. Royer, Immediately we
came to rGarkida, Yusufu eaugh measles and died in the
Iy farms were farmed partly by laborers and my job
ended 1i o'elo*k and I could go to the tama with my wife. We
were alb ehrietian, I was baptized .foe years after the
Buropeans am 1957* We did not go to farms on :undays.
wife later gave birth to 'aiAnatu then Andre's, then
araya. they had three years between, that is mmuedately
one stops breast feeding, the next is given birth to. Not
that we time it ourselves. She gave birth next to Ishaki,
Amina. When I stopped working at Virkgiri, I got tired and I
was afraid people were jealouse of me and I was afraid they
would harm me. People were saying that I put miasionery
labourers on my farm while it wasn't true. I then bought a
plough and bulls I had a herd of cattle, and I was keeping
them myself with a hbaere herding them for me.
)4j wife gave birth to Wahir and Bather.
I ploui my fields and then go to to plough other people's
field for payment. I had big farms.
Rube sa got married. Bit.rus was then doing well in
school. All my children have gone to school and today M3trus
is an Assistant Registrar in Ahmadu Belle University, Andrews
is a lieutenant-Colonel in the ligerian Army, Saraya is a
Grade Two Teacher, Amina i:s a Secretary in Social Welfare
Office at MRbi, Wahir is a Grade II Teaoher, hoping to con-
tinue with further studies, EBtha is in WI.C.

I\ \

2o Keahelia

After the birth- of Rsther I had a misfortune, my cattle,
numbering about eighty started dieing. They died about ten a
day. They had P2TV, I couldn't sell them and people just
took the dead free. I later sold my bull and plough a
friend advised me to do so, seein-g that ay children are work-
ing, no need I suffer ploughing again. I was once a decon of
the village church in QGrkida.
eTday, I am still a farmer, I have no other job. MN
farms are really very big and I am still active and healthy.
What I hate most is trouble with others. I also hate
someone to look down upon me.
When am not farming, aa reading books or writing. I did
use to go hunting but I don't now.
From the beginning, I had wanted farming, and this God
has given me freo the start up to today. I also like to give
my crops to those who are not even my relatives, this is to
show my gratitude and love for farming. I like planting trees -
mangoes, lemons and oranges for y grand children to come and
use in the future.
I and ay wife always pray that our children would come at
the same time for their holidays this is rarely possible with
suh different jobs they have so that we could be together
and pray to God together.
My son Ishaku is still schooling in Bngland, and our prayers
are strongly for him to be successful and to come home safely,
and that he should come and meet me and my wife still alive.
Also when my sons bought me a bicycle, I was so happy had
wanted to buy one since, but I r to, thinking people would
be gossiping that my children ha ought me a bicycle. There is
nothing bad about it, but I didn't like it. Second wife so
pleased as if I was on a honey lAon.


University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs