Title: Bura Field Research Project (Sakwa by Musa Ibrahim Sakwa, typescript, 1974)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099264/00001
 Material Information
Title: Bura Field Research Project (Sakwa by Musa Ibrahim Sakwa, typescript, 1974)
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Sakwa, Musa Ibrahim
Cohen, Ronald ( Compiler )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099264
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Special and Area Studies Collections
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text





M.I. Salbra



2. B ILLU';.A IG 0 1D -


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Gal-a I and tbo surrounLding vill0gcs is t c roas where

the ro onrch. is ta-"ing 'p"; i.;gh t'"ore are t':,ro ... .:..

vi1-Jeos, cloco b i'.e o -'- o bc '-o te1 in thi" ook c

on.o .oCin. the l- Di tr-ct -II.'d.~~u.ytr.s. The otior '~1 -h-an.

io just adjacent to the District Iloadquzrters but -.crorly
CFU-.','7t ,D I'--,
scrarateC. by5 River riir-5n.

LOC'TCIT: It is jut obe-'t 7 mil7.cs onth of iu by the

old 1r-.td t (c251 p o nsbly rench 12 ri ile vi-. Yinr'si 7, core-

bination of both tarred aY~.d zntt.rrcd rc:-ds. It is limncd by

all ,es-n ro.cds front Biu. There are sever.l. vill.Ce ":11

within tc rnadi.i -of lcss tthan amile s-roundin t. 'c

i- : Vi-, -L -4* *

TLgcrdcu z icld dld'-)...

PTIIAIT: The vill..go is situated in the valley rained by

the two Rivers. Thus lidil to tle wct nd Gw-arta- %ITdAen to

the east. Both Liver meet to the south of the village and

contiuned -,id consequently emptied into the River ITaw.ul. At

the Ilead. of River ridium thick jung-le could be found with

lots of garden plots all along the river. Generally, most of

the nearby fields (farmplots) are found in the valley.

IIIGEL/ANTDO: There are no light hills in this area but

small hills or what csn be precisely do scribe as ridgsc could

be found. The Barti-ThIerch Ibirti ridges cave rice to a

series of low hills to the North and north-east of the village.

The other Gaksn village is also a SettleJe;.nt on 7. .:aiced ground.

G'aslki .hich is oitu:tcd on a hig '> l- .u -*hich cannz;>cntly

gave rise to the highest plateau in the Division is.: to the Jast

of the vi- lage.

G roI thi, -7hcription 'r' ci,- I27 uc 1 -Vi.-CnsV tihat ZaM. G

i . LL .for fi d >-L t-'1::1 r_. e -r . .. cti. .. th,.

hi ll -I nd Lidgc s oul. be n. r.t. of uii n cr1 ,

groundnuts n r'i il7t. NY ov.r, -,y -r ,.l>o ;rz fouad'

on tho plaLeauz copI)rcd to those found in tho valleys. Dry ceaonfarin" "

is found only in a fo. places along Pidir.1 Liver in the form of a'&cning.

T:2 .ILL.j-j :

'Th villajo is one of the ,oszt roctn"t attluc.ot south of Diu. It

pro ont ly homes roljly onoe luidred hoiuscs. The to~oihi is .cvidod into

sco ,''.. war.s ( ). e ::.r.. had rar. el ,rly oin :hio :ore lder;tood

to hnvo tl"o'-ie. 2-irat in this .o'ea of theo ton;;rnhii,. 10 laders'i_.; of

'jardr .-'G not in ay inherit'ble by relative; of the pt.vicus lUader.

Dut ci;.:ply follow wh;iich nai ca:e n::t at tic tiOe of cet lec:.' .

heree -' over a thousan..d poople ..lle4 sotl.d2. in 'i ".ill:~ o.

The dellcir. ar irodczinzan ;ly .uro bzt '. fe:.r L: L ibe could be fou2.d

lik: Ir-,._,'i -.; Trau::.c :ho hav cO oa-i e'.Gr a:: of.ic _.::'r cr a

.tr d..r ry '.y f..r0 i vill. o: : C .c

Others ":'re toL-.cors ho teach ir. -c pri..' choo- .id offic 1.orkers -;ho

occu; offic i-T Jihtrict I aco ffic. T i an i

Court in '- --ill:.o which h cater.- for the fre1do: of evor individual jad

O hr villa' i ool: up .ottlu;ont br.ely CO ys3.:.rs0 0.. . Lulw'" d

allol -: .n I ;intZ-Jico-- :oi: oun thi lino: of Districb IIo".... 'ave-

r~eiail- ov "r Jsince .h, +".t "liu int of i i la .. t h.-...d.-..._t,.

of thi i..,ric'j, he :"id .. ; ?.n-; 3 i -.t. c ludin th

pro...ont one. 0" ...... office be"an ::ith .hlc.... t:3 i..t Ji.trict

IIon.d and follo-we by jur,.ua; .jiya G.arj-, iya .li :-id a h i:.a Ijala.

Last on t'- e "..ori, c of Ditrict ca i .h ti:.::a U"jtd: ij ;:till

reijn:.. .l ::Cum. cffic'? ,-inue 15 'r7r :.:a .u:uda .a ; 1(:.a

s 'cat du-'zia blc ,Jo::nd JorlJ.'d ..ri .. d hdout in r'.. and "onjo.

.'mong tho o :ho -s'i.t th:e Dijtric had : l.c ".. -:.... of ..a,.a nd

theo ....r h 'u..a. l .. e uopL: acit liD c.lo:'"ly i. colvin natt'r "" t"at

.2.-c. t ; vill'"r".

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.':' villC. r-* *:r *rO :'.''in :o ,;.. 'I_ .- i i ; .

tdinal b o- f "-r _. .Te .ld. '" r".

3he. peojGo ,]e_ t',c. 0.!'. r a") o ,1.h0 vil'r- ,' ... .... *lic.._ -" ........i To ci, l .g r .
he ? 0 : 0. 'r.:: -.... o.', ; of t.- vil a.! c eou" o o '. iu ( -c'. ~ . 0 1';'c..

o" I--- :; .. ..- 1 -o t YC. : ...D 4 .i

( u_,:'"' .t,. .vill o w o _-ef n t u c c''. : in tCi2

i" :C"-.i .uo.'- to .'. c i o: l.o~l- o o.i ycuth. L to cii. 'ir ''u :. o ol2 ;os-i:'i..l

2 .. . .u.:.. : 11 o n bi -1

house oJ c:.L -. o' 1 iO tli ousc vhich conC; in tioc ibu .an 'l ; ifo -.rit

childr-oii. !A "c'hi hou hold th; hu:: 'i 1 t ;o Co Vi;', v. ih

r. runbor of cild:rcn "- .ov. ci 't y.pic'-l; '1 ^ 1l.o;u. .o 1 .: .~. .

uoroe -tI-.l ,'.ree :i. )-, .. -'' .. htL1.'>nd, ov";r t'- chilL'&en ;:it t o...ir .o.- .l

oi7:nlL. n .. fo: d. i r7.:.: cr t2 v 2_0 ;.+ io, tyj.pic:-- ho1. '"-ould. orvO, "-O

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GIT ,= o-..ill -.:. n o '-I ; houSC

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E = .ie c rlooplnj room

.-o- ,axll (cco-in') roo2 P M ZaLJ9 5 6 A

1 Sto.re

L .= Go.; "hoco ot 100.on).
(a= Iile's of oo3. (chich?), u0-lly in 17 o. 2 oi o:Tn'i roon

The -izo of t-'c he:oc 'l0oZ not very lmucni c iorii:cz te ; lro of a

hou~c. Um-lly hluc household -t *:c rmiber of occnperin of t:o hourr

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= A pile of -Tood by ,le .noro:,'- roozm c:.llc( shinii.

ST = SIdolli llacc called !Lthla

CJ c'Orantz' old lo.inj room

SIL7tciho. c1allod sinL~L. roo-a ( ahar ]ha~ia).

J,. Q- CY(i.i cii houoe

O = gocat' shed (only available -at ;et sconon))

II.I. 21.2AL 9

::c..J 1"_ V2 TI'ICfi E1G ....

EL = 21:cr' sons housc -.!ith hi ;;.ifc in hio father'' house

1 4.: = ives' room numbered. .c.r.in' bo -h- nunbr -they arc

LiaLrrie. 'h1 fir's-t -ifo iL t1ic ."ir.c' thoo ia.rieL. cod.

,heo scrioe dcoo

S hor 3 or I aigid. a' ooa

In a. t_.ically big house one could .i: *-.t t'rc 're ;ovOe..l

c.aller hIouces i. 4 h, biz one. -'i- hoeo could. b-loj to tic l:c'i&idaa's

biac ion oit;oi .y t'.:o co. that follow ..o t ij..t c.. In rrc. cLsCs

ti.n 'o Cyic._C...7 Oi ouSe sr-e o u. un-iveIral 'et- cf I'c.0 2 .__ -cujc-

of cl. i ch i- U c 1i- '.-

tihoe.,. i;: v'.,::-Y li'ttleo c ace 3e0' roc:.s. I ._; roonv. ::':' built clo- oly u-, -

*o .l ... .i] .? o "0 "c0 for OC ro,].41.in n: rioj .. i clher ul:il li.'... ,-,',

z. c:oojp'l hous. ..'2 ,r.foro fin- :. lot of conviction :in :. .icLly

bi.g Iious? lh...:- f.'..... in a aeliui cr Cm:ll hlouse.

-;hx of cIrops Ic;ian by heo villager include Ljino., coJi (&i.i.o

cor .) ,:1io^ iG ...u ,:. :._;le fooe cro"' "c :.',"::'-o, rico, g (ounijut, rol corn

cotto., cc::.'.;:.v. "el coco .&.. '0 c: c-oh .-r- .o'ton u. j oi.ucdor. ;

1 jo;.'.e i O ric. 0i :.0 i -."o cc oC),l o i:. c.o": :. io fool o".

l.i.. i bc .. m:i v ,'-ery :.uit_ pre,,r .. :no- -:.' .r i;s; lo of ho-.-.cs;;.

Th, Oui:-o.. corn iu irc::n il.o... cv ....r,::o.'-- ]bui r ';riets-1 ere i..r. i...

o uc ic. 'i:'l..i. Contr.ry c LJ:.e.;c corn., rice ~ r.s .Lce ..;o:ere-

thor. ir. lot cf rinf:.-ll to plc-.c: of lo ,' r."in.. ,c:.e cro. l'-. Lotm.c,

m"illr't, veget 1ocS cr'o G:";; c.- ix.ed cro a .mon ....' .., ,.cor-;" .o f r... .in icu ..

villj :.
c~~uO'c%~ ini,2:: i.er'h

:"~ L"1 u- '.,, tn l, - '
-V 'jl ... ...,' . ...,..a, ..,,, r, .,, 0 ,' : .r . .. D ' . ., ,

1I 0I in. 2:.z L U
Cone c^ t'-;; fiol.n: re c: n CC-. . '-': .o o . ."ctico o? 'llii".i...

c l t i v -: !. ; :i : 1- c .* . ... 1 :. icc'!i a. --.1_, 1 *..o v e r:T, t, T i l l :--; ; I c ?i n c

:,o:'],'. o, 4: ... .2 O... , ,,,
.:... : ;L.' :O" 70 _-z g '1, T-,D '' c b

:;u.:-'-" c .: .... O. '...: co 2" ':1:: o: .. Alc t. vl .: 'c li'c ::..O, j;"' .c

1id o1 0 a2 ,-'O toG':O ..I0U0 Cc'O 1 -'1 L0' v3'".. :o' t U '"o"u cut *-c

J.olo -?"' 1o. '.

....i.. : u vi.t_" .11y o.- :.'i'. t 'unr.ag Of vill. s.i.j. 1.!:: ,': 'b lhol .

- ,vill-, o ...... ot ^ :.l .:;o0 -... nj co_ c t l iil ci <: '
ilonj^ (riv -':') in ^ **"b :It n I'-oc to huntb tliro- cr for: tf-ir1'.," 4r'.r:2\ ; ct'

,h-ol i_ j:::-- .. li.i::.. '.- .. c." '; ';::o o'j,-,c'-t-" ...i.. . L .c .o,! %o l t...... ij
i t'li r C objcti- i .t it "oi"o2.: ...o..1 f"r .ur

nld gLs Qco cL. .bjective i-. tl :. it (lh itin.i" ) help% to c_ oz' -i.. .il 2e;.;

profoionl h '; nl ;rop unti a C. .

hc-nl to tSO "j ij'i y o .O -" 1 e .'... o :c 3 loo, o "n t'-c ,- ......1

no ^cyci2l attention i. j0:. .i to the ti- r.c" :.uiiil tc2u:.. t22:.2 CrV lloUc.

-trict : b i_ nig i" i., ,.*.1 to mr,- s t tlin r %c n*t ...o.'.... t. .... c:c.. in

out shoep to the ft :1 o. Goctr :-;o nor :Jl7 Eu .i inl.0 *ini f:::nin

.d. .cy r.. ,on i t J.
C1. hor b o2 t ._.intinc1 by thZ.i vill::.r_ icli'uv c:t., loa i. Co.ou' -jh
r..b'it C. i : oltry b oiueJ f atini--. It ii .. no. . :c oo ::... 11:'.

po' in^; ;".- ho" .. ....^ j .st :*'." sc' ia;i -,- ._V^ no jur s the- sLt.- O

Sill .;. Fo ;in I c- f '15. :,' -'u.1 G :1..

ao", ::z e, i '"' -^ 1 -- t .::.t o. u' ..r..lly .. I,., .!.. p lo.-. c h.lJu.
Cttn c i o p.plc'C l o2. li "-" cotton to t.-..o.2 -.*.o 1 t' cou". ... 1" '"

" ....,i2:!.0

.-_, co.1-"1N ': .: .. .Do


j' iL t"T. -1 J .

_cfin.ite .. at' 0., could fin.'. t1:t ^cpl? ::'' o *o r --:- : cl.. ':

occu1)ry tlohe ;*:":;i --i'c- l-..i:. 11 c t lo tc',;-...r. :-:cor' t e. o'?f:ce

wor:o : i2-c 1 ^'-- 'V tcn
.onticnr.. ;,bo,. IT; i cot ]ooerver zOssiblc to,,- r,: ,'-'--:- ";c u:-.ibur. of

cl.:.. in th. villao. T.over, the mnhLcr clr" .... ..r. l, !-l-,:i, T',.:1 -1-. ,

"zhol i- ( 'e jDist c 'r.".d' clrd.'.1. :... ::....cl,_ ':o 'hc r.... h r:.o

cone fro. ....:... : -: 1 .:ch.owr.. .kQov\ tol: : i.

Gro.p .TaT.:..- i m-O, o" l' the trditioi f ;a..12 r-.. th. -rle

around q.'2:*. Ti..s foitival cones up iao-iately .. .,to-r 'ic hav-stin"

co.Zon, fZron I-.,cl- to 1:iy. This tim, of the ya-r of cour're ha little ;:cr1:

left to be done. T1.:o ..r. ov r.. pl.. ..u- acr' .. ,' ".. 1, (,.-l :z-iev) a'o

hno.,n to c-;t in cubht- ntidl nuh""r'. Th jlac : i-clud"o lin, -Toln:.,

Dil:.'a, Piur. ,' 1 DiT-n Ich-l:.-

If it i r'-opo'ed th:t the 7.:.y li'i festiv.1 .:ou1 t "'" plce or.

;o0 ",n no 12reht Ly thn tlo.; people --ho t* i '- orf u' 1ntig" *oul.

traveiol. fro- :.-.:.t to rart--t cno'.-cig,,' ..; p-: r-po, _rL-.] m. n,;t ho2". cioP.d

be blo-it ._-ud :'.cih ".TI overybo'dy ',:ill kno- that th:here :ur.'1 hun tanin:p

festivzl. B.efo"re' th -t narkc.t d.cy arrives friends wo,.ld tr-y to got those

who h.voe not .o:'rd Iow .T v.bout the festival. By t-it dasI o -riy pcoplo

would be en.2orly oni the wait.

The mornzip-- of fwctival would be introduced to the public also by

blowing the mighty horn. Soon after breakfast is over both children,

youngsters and adults would arm themselves with bows and arrows and sticks

also to set out to the bush. Similar thing would be happening in other

villages and a troop of hunters will converge to the proposed bushes. That

is how the festival begins. There would be a mixed up of shooting running

and shouting to frighten the animals to come out of their hiding places.

Several animals like deer, buffalo, rabbits and guinea fowls will be

captured on that day. Soon as someone catches a prey somebody else would

rush to him and slaughter the caught prey.. This follo: too would be

instilled to a piece of the caught proy. n orally the fpootival consists o

adny fights. peoplee who fool lth fighting go to the f. .iv. l to look for

T" T '

a fi t. fcy ;uccJc. in 'oi"n so by 'oin; Lo groc h Li;:1C ou ht by

"o eon ....1 cl:.irt.in-g th,.t it i-' hic. If toC .c 'u:1'. o:rzcr: cf *' .ix.im;!

LL0u... OLiiu c1.._i;.or woud Ui hp.r .d' ther: L'ihl 1> L in:.

S- .4.n f .l -. :i L1 : it .- I '. ,W-ll.

Ilhy L.::-oz p'o.le c.. bc:h fro th: i,'.- ..7i it.h fou. or fiv:

iffe 'e:: c, .::. "i"; hou tiho 'rop I.uiL-t t C. .4 l c .

-. .-I T 7..iJ.o.4 I

.. T, ---' 7. C- .* - -

4" 2. r -" ."-)4 AO L'... AJ- ...-, .. alOl -!. -; ..- ..-J-.. *

i',urcoo. ,.2 2. ; f-- K 'oa 12 T... .. .. '.v bz. :u ';c :i '.blc :o "o:y io ; i l..

P* fc^: 10 o 02i ine' a 2 0 cloG. T'T :l 1^ ^ 1" 'Tp :) (o.e c.0
..': U Oi.i e.. . *-

.." i 'l ; 'z :.: c .o -:on u... "LJ .ur2 h b-u-.2 """'L;i cl i* --i--' c-:.

*l ioo if'. "-s, t-"i.'; !**I ii -TT,.'!:: .^ Crou i '.. h. ,.Y'_,- liv"--

*l C '.XJ-^ alju.L'._).j>Xj. O^ .1 V,,.^ 'A.1, -.. tr 2, -'25 '-9' ,--'--"/ ". ,'-

ci lln e i2!Ci l. 2. . ...T.. I- -. -0" '-1- .-''- r .'
i .. o 10-. _. vi'.l'c l :1.j a;;i' c 1o -.~-i .' t .... .c... ..... 2

-- .... .. ... . C -* .... -- L-. & 1 -. 7 '. -. -

c l .o j l'.. Loa "' c.,c. *.111, 0 '",. o o a -U:'... i::'. '... :. ..l..
in ssi! 1] .1 ". i:.r- ;,o'l'.-.' ... o ,. ''.' h 'o -: .' .,, ..... "'-_;.':.. .. .. .... a..:

o Ol!i D o.ir "-'. ra^11 i~Oi'^L U ^,a- ... ..-: : *-' + ..

t .. ..bi. ", i'."7t '. c-m .... .. .2-2 :. 1 o .; : 2 ,.. .-2

7-.. l. o t i.r. ...;2. 2'2 t La : i. ..._.. :_:4 i" C.'.& ..... '.. ...

...l. thouj. -li: z :.1 ro ia'- no Thu b J o 2 uL. Lf" o I'c '-^ ...i '--,',7 C. "'.1" "..,

pcoojle, .>c' iQ\.- : it ....m ,i .u t..i. t:li j 1 .J. This A ..' .. ( c.' ) :
ar. .. ..q- .i. "

Y r .- .... Z ''" -"' _.-"': t ." .w ; 2 "-"..' o .o '" z.-l".

-... .e t l a 1, ~' ' .. -. . " '. . ..'

'. -,Ty 'c i.-- v', 1 :-oc:.l -'- ,-.o : :- Q -.' .... . -.. .. .-
::C l.:t 'L "I'..t 'c1w~ir tof .l : L.. 1:: '.200

It t-.1 2:. -... '....0 a -iC lic ._-'.1 t" ... -' .v. -?.'. ';'y C.-C-o '.. 1Lt-

'.. -1: 'i 'c :.t '. J .. o '.? -'.... 0 '7"< t.'' .x,.L2,X ,?_. ,:. _.i'.,_

t*!re-> lil:.- '-^' ;o's, -." ::full- r. :; ^rou;:. l' . .. '. .n. :. "l.i'';. vo ,--

., iX'-L y I2Q;2 31-, ..'-. o ver D i 'u''-. .. ...-J.'ti.'- l of' t.-.-e "1'.i "..zl

trib ::o,.: ~". J '; li.';. '-. t of t", !i. (til :.:'.-" 'l; i" bl c: .. i. ,
tm.*. (,.-)- ni" ,n'- ". .' -' -.i n; 11 l c :t ... .. c o tc
be. To1-. & :;. .L ir i"" "lij "tly rono..... ".iff--:."1 - ,7-.-

I07 "il ;:. ::.; ".' -t a! -' rint t: 'C -.T c- .n (10 0)

i utiic t..: .co.:.L.. to clo:. o..f o .. :o.,a '. I' b. ,.n c- :1ic. 2o100 2

th07 no in t: orl PT21-VICCUU 7::1 .tio- in tis Co-ot> TT'TU-.:zL. :. T.,

Joccrib.c 1hs-; Cy U>; bo io; but2 Ib"- .', :111. "- tic color z C tic tr.

I'>' i..; 7. :..''.. 1 o- r orofh'''- cc *o ,i i....st . oa l To

.c l u i, ..'. -..-, m.l, d:,I_ ^ ;.o no o.:" i1 U.u- .. 1 is i ly "U:I.

o" :,c li:.:_ :o o n ': ""-. c.. uo "-f o ": li_ .. only _' : :i;- e of o" -

coui A. ,.. ...iv o- '"-' -- 2._ .... -- j tt-

czi4 i.t ::" Z n:o' 7 'i.,i. -'; -in.-

(\.) J :r :--r' ...' 0.. : ". l .:c "r --. L i' r *"'sm-" 2 t-i:. .c::J :i li-, O

01ca .3i-1 lintx;. 1- C-ort fo
cli 0c'22 i:L."on. li nr. It.'- a ;s_'' it -"11 c:. t "'-- tic Unoc' '

n: Ui "n-Qi c, I l2':' "-. (1*7;:-... ") *-,-f' tl-i-l :2l...iQhi... 7ir. 'il-m .

,o'0!.bi : *.. '-. o *-* . ...;.b. ..r n..r +i-,c' ii 'Gich .,3 -"....or i.:., coQt

c'ut o -y th; '1 s.:o::l r'rtn >2->1: his :C:-tcz ("il::;. 'o..'i2 'or spoilini

his ofth"r'os t':z_, .

C1.' iZs :. "; 'll;o ri.v.i. .on cz ti ) L .i : yl1 '.-. ^'r,-bi.ii. Cl'.-n call 1,'

'1viv o c. o a r cc U. A. ox:-- -C10 of '. 0cl:: iS K:.-7..'i.

Sh'Oee.t ,re OG ,.h.ny 1',i' b~ c",-.zce ,a rct :;L?." p0, o::O : of r,.'.o cl.:.'.c n u not

.i1 l'. Z.-x O,. ,z :" .. ...
ofihti c".. other. .Itiom'h b.oin ..o. r. cl":.r 1o" n..:':0 r.'jc'..-'il."
a&oi r-r'.tiv, it ih onlt cuhatoiiay otlt I'y ::Jio' lc" toi; c ;:1'

Cl .c:.hip i- .. n t..':. .) "... ...o.. eo f. ro". a cif:^ ,ou. c.; coator cl b.i.r

poor a fi.he'U. r i.., his children ,n-i.t a.nr.c i-i ::;. father o;ince one c:-rIlot

.i n C.n. i i- i ,-I cl --.-ail. i .:,. o .- :"c r i. .O.t a'c.ior:.

7In ...r. 2J ala--vo .3 .o".n :7or :)i o.;er ..ip of "- ..... C'. of n'c .h_ .c nt co int:

of thiS cln. ir. its inability to top cl.izel.. on. :tholblrs of ti" ,li l

(3) ClI j.. not cli'oabl. id co nev-r b_ a- Fll"p

-1nother ovwrtin-io. CrO keep to the cl-n lhe bloin throujhout irLc life

tim. Zj^LIlJ, 2io children inixrit- it and thoro it cont-inuacs.

. clcn cn disappear if all i'cz o-ei,'er; die but the clan in itz.lf

cannot ciianoo. The position of U:oin-'ui clin in tho society iO not ivey

oimporit bec-e'.o it i the ofatlis''s clan o.t hi childc'c.n r'o idon etifii

oeith. For o;i:e. if a Ltbo of the clali ealcrics :o.i'n of e Lel

cla-, their children ::ill or onll- I:,-lri butn not b-ut.a. Tn lo .oin2 is e

nothor'r: clan Cclih .v..i.ul1y be fc''jotcn. Zila;. Co:bi o::i.(, it is tuiuC

impos.iblo bo Join *i:l'r cl.t. c''oforl -it i no l'ro )xci'l'.

n7 Fc mca O-yf--c.u---^y
........ S .n:b r o .u ia ~ a r. a ,o:: : c -...



Haptu is a supreme supernatural object just similar to

powers possessed by God. Haptu can be a single or collection

of stones, trees, Rivers, mountains and different forms of it

made out of clay. It is next to God but has almost equal po-

wer as Him. It has powers that could prevent any forms of

sickness; brings happiness and tragedies; causes rain during

drought periods; makes sterile women conceive; It prevents all

forms of evils, for instance, the evil doings of witches. It

has many other uses but some cannot be mentioned: Mr Gombi al-


He said Haptu can be obtained either by investing if from

ancestors or by going to look for them. One can make the Mil-

lim by just taking a plot of land where there is a lot of tall

trees and sometimes with thick bushes. The person then will

have no right of cutting down the bushes or even a tree because

as it was believed, the satans (spirits) of the forest would

be annoyed.

Haptu can be owned by a single person-or by people Of the

same Nyaamba or collectively by alllthe villagers. The Haptu

that is owned by all villagers is usually given the name Millim.

Millim is always a small piece of land given solely for tall

trees and bushes. Usually most of the oldest trees in the vici-

nity of the village could be found among the old trees of the

Millim. Inside the Millim there is no cutting of bushes neither

killing of any forms of life. It is also illegal to burn the

bushes of the LMillim. Going against any of the Rules is a great

crime: The result of which would cause the satams of the forest

to go against the people of the village. In cases in which such

happens the satans (spirits) would decide to punish the villagers

by either causing drought or causing an epidemic disease to in-

fect the village.

a- Z.1&9 0 y a 71l ci-a sY/, -k 11 0 'TI, /Q/ ., ?(.u/tS/r

( JhZ WLLLS P' ))


These two are among many of the punishments that a

village would suffer if they annoy the satans of the :


The elders of the village hold the responsibility

over the Millim and other Haptus owned by the whole vil-

lage. The village Head acts as a chairman to the Committee

of the elders who take care of the Millim and other Haptus.

Sacrifies are given to the Millim and Haptus annually in the

form of animals and crops. Animals ranging from chickens

to camels including cows are slaughtered after incantations

are made. Normally the village head does the slaughtering

and the meat distributed to villagers as the meat roasted

and taken still outside.

When a Haptu is owned only by the people of the same

Nyarmba. the slaughtered meat should not be eaten by other

people outside the Nyarmba. People of same Nyarmba are the

closest relatives of the same clan.

When people who are depressed visit the Hillim, or

Haptus, they normally carry along with them goats or chickens

as gift to the Haptus, they would explains thier problems

to Millim or Haptu and then let go whatever animal she or he

has brought. In many cases when one pays a visit to a

Millim, one would find wither a chicken or goat. It is

however not the same when a depressed person goes to Haptu

owned by a single person. It is the duty of the person who

owns the Haptu to tell the depressed fellow how much she or he

would give the Haptu. This would be either five shillings

(fifty kobl) plus a chicken or a goat and that would be done

first as requested. Refund of what is given to Haptu is not

allowed even what is expected does not happen.

Mr. Gombi gave an example of one type of Haptu owned col-

lectively the Bwalas of Nggwa, Sakwa and Merema. This Haptu

is responsible for bringing epidemic disease at the time of wars


to infect the enemies. In several cases he went on to say

that this Haptu had caused small-pox and measles. This Haptu

is a small hole found under a tree in Sakwa village. The

whole is always filled with water. When th;e water dries up

it implies that the satans of the Haptu are annoyed and they

need sacrifice.

Mr. Gombi says that about 20 years back almost eveyy

woman possessed a small haptu called (BWAJL) for every child

borned. The Bwal prevents a certain kind of children: sick-

ness called SURP1KCER. It was believed that if a child posses-

sed the Bwal he or she would not die of peoples' wickedness.

Only natural death would cause the loss of th-ir lives. The

Bwal is kept close to the child's head by the bedside.

Nights during which a child cries the Bwal would be

.given beniseed and small local beer called BURKIUTUK. If the

child does not stop crying then a chicken would be slaughtered

the next morning to please the Bwal. Simple diagram of the

Bwal would serve to illustrate more clearly.

M.I. SAKWA L j 19

Wi IiL O LU77. ^ /^Cd aL4 ? i9 1
(j.)Ladan says that long ago the present Bura land was oc-

cupied by a certain type of people called Ngwi. They had

settled in this area and been farmers. They were excellent

blacksmiths and farmers. Ladan says that they had filled

the soil and had arranged almost all the terraces found to-

day. Other stone walls found around willages were made by

the Ngwis. Because this people did not like foreigners those

wer wandering tribes in the past gave them a lot of headache.

The Buras were one of the wandering tribes.

The Buras he says were originally people of the North

who had been wandering in Bornu area. They later settled

at Ngazargamu before starting their later wondering lives.

From Ngazargamu they wandered...'south of Bornu and came to the

area we now call Biv Division. On their coming they drove

the Ngwi people away settled in their villages and cultivated

their farms.

The BABURS were different people who came later on. Be-

cause the BABURS were too few they eventually forgot their

language and began to speak Bura language.

When the Bura settled in this area they did not have

any objective in further wandering so they decided to owrn big

villages. This villages were then fortified. Villages like

Dikir, Sakwa, Tlerama, Tanga were all fortified by stone fence

called Michiba. Ladan went on to mention a few examples of

the people w'lo made those INichibas. He said th,'_.,t at Sakwa

was made during the reign of Bilabiri and th t at Kerama was

made by Kadala Bala Thlama. These two rulers were the

village Heads respectively.

He gave a good example of the beginni-g of settlemo.ents at

Ngwa and Sakwa. lie said that two Brothers from -aku a town

in the ;.'orth in Bornu area came and settled at Whajang. From

there they advanced to Ngazargamu where generally the Bura

people are believed to have come fro. these two brothers, met

M.I. S!4WA.

an Nbaya man and they advanced south untillthey reaches ITgwa.

a village south of BIV town about 7 miles away from Biv town-

ship. The elder of these two brothers hanged his arrow case

called KOJA on a Bwala tree. INgwa is a very beautiful round

plateau with red soil. The scene of this area was so beauti-

ful that he decided to settle here. The younger brother

decided to continue southernly until he reached a place called

Sakwa. This place is also a fine scenery then he decided to

settle there. From thereon, all the descendants of these two

brothers have been known as Bwala because they first hunged

their arrow case onths BWALA tree. The Tgwa and Sakwa villages

are predominantly Bwalas today. This is an exsaple of the

coming and settling of the Bura people as the Buraland.

Malam Ladan said that long before coming of the Bura to

this area they were known as Bura. He said that since before

the Pabirs came the Bura people were called Bura.

2 Clan is the division of the Bura tribe into smaller frag-

ments like Nalgwi, Bwala Mobelia, Tibaya, Melelizah and co-

many others.

There are so many clans because during the coming of the

BURAS to the BURALAi:D some groups settled under a tree and that

people were later identified with th.At .tree they have settled

under. For example, during the coming ;.'f the two brothers,

two INTgwa they hunged their arrow-case (KOJA) at a Bwala tree.

These two brothers were then later identified as people of the

Bwala tree. So today we have a large clan called Bwala.

Others who rested under Izah tree were known as Izah people.

They are addressed as MSHELIZAH. When prefix-is used before

a clan's name it shows a sign of respect fcr th'-t clan. Those

who settled under a Sura tree are called 3ura. Those who cme

from I.alguri brt did not settle under any tree were identified

with the place they have come from.. The Clan Ialguri had come

from a town called Tlalguri. Altho'ug-h the people were not called


Malgwi, this could be only due to poor pronunciation. Of

course during the process of calling Malgwi they called Mal-

gwiMshelia is another clan which did not settle under a tree

for identification, 1ir. Ladan said that Lia is iron and so

the people are excellent smelters blacksmiths. For this

reason most blacksmiths are mshelia. Mbaya people came from

a town called AIAZA fron the north They are called Mbaya


Membership in the clan is inheritable. Someone outside

a clan cannot gain membership of the clan. He (ladan) alle-

ged that only the clan of the father is inheritable because

the clan of mother is not recognizable in the society. Woman's

position in the society is always dependable on the husband.

Women are properties of their respective husbands and they are

therefore identified with their husbands rather than with their

fathers. Any child that is delivered is given the fathers clan.

Membership in a clan is not changeable. The clan to which one

is born remains forever the clan of that person and his children.

For all clans there are clan Head. These are always the eldest

of the remaining members of the clans. The Head of my clan today


My clan a well known for their great skills in hunting,

they were great warriors, well known at funerals when there is

death. They could remove roofs of huts. They were also known

as excellent cultivators. One of the greatest hunters was Chap-

wala Vima who settled at Jhlakwa. Example of the great warrior

in the Ualgwi clan were Philaps and Ngwvarkwnak:dza. The best

farmer still in Ladans memory as he said was Ngulang. He said

also Malgwi dan was known for its expert Haptu keepers. Many

of the members of the clan kept Haptu.

3 Ladan says that it is not possible for someone tb claim

another clan. It is always a pride he says, to be identified

with ones own clan so nobody actually changes his clan.

I~ .1

He said he has never seen someone changing his clan neither

would such ever happen,in due cource.

In normal cases, when people of different clans are

brought Into say 1algwi clan, they retain their respective

clans. But in rear cases when one or bwo people are bro-

R ught into a large M.algwi family; they become adopted to this

large family. If the father decides to adopt this children

land call them sons then this children become actual members

of the household. In such cases if the children will tend

to forgot their fathers clan and doing much to the stepfathers

clan. When such happen, event-,;lly the children will be

ideentifiied uith the Halgwi clan. Therefore itic only 'n

This case that the ado'to children would loose their paternal

clan and adopt the Step-fathers clan.

4 The informant alleged that the TTalEwis are co.lled so be-

cause they came from place they have settled in long time

ago called Nalguri. Perhaps it was because of poor pro-

nounciationthat IMalguri people were called ialguri. Because

they settled together at Malguri, they a-'so moved out together

and wandered together because of the com:,:mnmal a soci- tion

between them they were grouped under one clan. The ITalguri

came into beirn for those reasons. It was at the sa-me tit-e

as the whole Dur (tribe) Bura were wandering th'.at the

Malguri also wandered. Infact that time it was not only the

Bura people t'rat were wu.nderin,; b,-t also a core of other tribes

in the Kanem Bornu were doing so. As the Buras moved south

so also did a section of this Dur called Nalguri. As the

informant said previously that the two Bwala brothers settled

at Ngwa and Sakwa, the ":alguris settled .at Jhlakwa and Biv

He alleged that Biv township belongs to the Nalguris.

The informant went on to say th%;it some moved even further

south and then settled at I Aga Bura. Others settled at Dikir.

Those who settled at Agu Bura lost the ownership of the village

to a Zhimani (clan) man because they could not chose a leader


but resorted into a family dispute. He went on by giving an

example of an aged Malguri that is still living at Aga Bur#,

this he said is Balwar. Dika

The informant went on saying that some of those who set-

tled at Jhlakwa moved on to Puba. From Puba they migrated to

Yimisshika. Appreciable number of Malgwis are found today at


The informant alleged thrit those at Dikir are of the same

Nyarmbwa. A few Nyarmbwa could be found among those settling

at Jhlakwa. Those settling at Puba are having their own Nyar-

mbwa. Those at Yimisshika and Aga Bura also have their own

Nyarmbwas. Some of the Nyarmbwas are Malgwi Chara. Malgwi

TILIA or WIARAM; MALGWI THARWA; and a few others he could not


The coming about of Nyarmbwa, he alleged that if a member

of the clan marries two wives and these wives give birth to a

son each. These brothers are called Half brothers. When these

half brothers grow up successfully they willestablish two

Nyarmbwas although they have same father. If one of the two

brothers decides to migrate after getting a wife, and settles

somewhere then their brotherly relationship becomes loose and

if he gives birth to children and they grow up their children

will gradually forget th&tr patternal relationship (lineage)

with their fathers brothers children. Consequently the rela-

tionship will be forgotten and two district Nyarmbwa's would

be found. The Head of my Nyarmba today is Yachike Buar thus

the head of MAIGWI JHIARNVA. Some Nyarmbwas can die off. Nyarm-

ba which belonged to the Yachiwa lineage is today non-existing.

Yadiwa and Gaji Bura were half brothers. The Nyarmbwa which

belonged to Gaji Bura of cource is still existing. There is

always a head of the Nyarmba (lineage) but it is always prefer-

able that the eldest person still living among the members of

that Nyarmbwa. The Head of my clan is Yadika Bura.

/3//7 3

.4L^OCU36 0.( LLA {.1eLt -OL ,
'f !o-^ W,, S 1 , 1,.as /t, a U<-.,iV_
N.2 3a". 3A.LWA. 24

IY ., A 7, T,'I A

II. Ladan started by saying tht Yantarawala's father

settled in a place EA'T of Bornu. The father had two wives.

By the ti,'e Yamtarawoala.s mother was present the other wive

had pregnant too. YamtaraWalds father was the Kiig of his


YamlaraWalas mother gave birth to him an'. the other wife

gave bith to a son. It was also understood that Yamtarawala

was not the actual son of the King b..-t was a bastard. Yamta

(shorter) and the kings actual son grew up tog.eth-_er because

there was no slight discri.inr.tion between the two. It became

awfully hard to distinguish who wa..s t'-e iing's actual son and

who was not.

Before the Ying died he decided to try these two young

men to see who was his own son s-ch that after his death

would get on to the throne. The KIings House had two gates.

After the death of' the king a cow was given to each of these

two youngmen to slaughter. They were given the cows at the

aame time and were required to slaughter 'the cows at the same

time too. It was done this way to avoid spying of other

fellows work. Yamta did not turn the cow to eastwards. He did

not also ask tho people around hi. to di9 a snall hole whore

the blood was going :,o collect. He did not eit ,_her ask them

to sharpen the knife which w4 a to be needed. ITh King used to

perform all these rites when he lws sia-'gt.eri. g. It implies

therefore the person who did it t'eo ki;:j, ry ;i well, would

be regarded the King's son. The o thr boy sl',. o;e.ed his cow

just thi:e same way as th0 kings so he was declared to be the

King's actual son a.nd was to assume th throne henceforth.
Yanta, having per 'orned his cutti- ,- wrongly, wars rebuked

and rot annoyed. .1e C ,s .w also hurried. in sh.,oe -d he then

decided to quit his home.

N .T SI,''

He decided going westerly until he reached Ilirnga where he

settled for sor.,ti es. He was not however satisfied wit:'

the ccn7diio-s at "irn, a. anc also because of the small size

of the village h:- decided advancing forward. He eventually

reached a place near I,,~.TDA,-GIRATJ where the scenery was

quite beautifu- and he b'iilt a mighty house.

One day he was walking in a pat and suddenly he saw

some beautiful stones which he picked aP- decidd- to carry

home. As he was walking a stone kickol7 his toes and fell down

The stones:: too dropped an e refused to pick then again.

The informant alleged that those stones could still teen

where he fell. inothe-r similar story is that one day when

he was going a-long a certain path he saw so:me beauti.-ful rass
Guu~d H aia( Ihe CL/Qas' a/2o ca&-szi C^/L// cckJd ?a C H/u VLAOL
and carry home. When a ,-tone kicked his toes during the short

journey he fell down again. The -rass got scattered and he

promised no-t to carry any home. The info:nant went on to say

tht it was the scatering of the grass during Yaratas falling

that made that particular grass to reach every corner of the


Yarta ws s said to an excellent hunter. Ther.-fore one day

when he went hunting he killed an elephant. He hunged the

elephant on his shoulder and started homewards. When he was

walking he eame across a river called Tsirakuri". By the river

side, he met two girls and he asked them whether they could

bathe him. The girls agreed and they bathed him. After the

bathe, Yamta dashed the girls with tihe elephant. Yamta then

instructed them that anybody that comes to the River and wants

the water should give them an elephant likewise. Yamta then

proceeded on his hunting and then killed another elephant which

he carried home.

.he girls went hor'e and told their parents that a certain

man by name Yamta had given them an elephant an- that they

should go and carry it for supper. The girls then related the

whole story of this noble hunter froi- when he reached them and


when he left them. The girls' parents went amd fetched the

elephant and shared it amongst themselves.

Under normal cases Yamnta always prepared is own form of

biscuits. These type of biscuits is a fried meat which was

dried and hunged over a root. Yamta called this meat AGYARA


One day Yamta asked his many children to spend the day-

light threading cotton for him. As they were working Yaita

took several stones and put them inside a cooking pot and set

the pot on fire. As they continued to work he timely sent

each of his children to go and carry the Agyara-gyara. None

of the children except IIari Viralyel could reach the agyara-

gyara hunged on the roof. Mari brought the Agyara-gyara and

they cut it for their. *eal-they--wantsd-r-or-the- lunch .

The stones in the pot were on fire for several hours. He was

sending one of his children timely to go and check whether the

fire was burning quite alright. He also asked them to taste

the stones whether they were cooked. When every child but

Mari Virahyel had a turn they found all the stone only hot but

not cooked.

Lastly it was Mari Virahyels turn. When he reached the

pot he took a small piece of fire and put aside and put off the
the remaining side the pot. He thenised some grass and with

small piece he has kept aside and made another f;rywhich did

not take a second to make the stone codk beyond the normal

GOoking point. Some of the stones had already gone into a

liquid form. Mari took one of the stones in th pot and started

chewing it an his way to tell his father Yamta that the stones

were too cooked.


Yamta was terrified on seeing what his son Marl has done.

Yamta became awfully upset because he thought Mari was more

enchanted than him (Yamta). Mari was the seventh child of

his father and he proved tougher than Yamta. Mari was again

sent to bring the agyara-gyara as all the six children had

failed. When Mari brought it, they took it but then it was
getting dark down was approaching. Yamta then discussed/the

children after the heavy day's work.

After the evening relaxation all the six children and

Mari went in for the night sleep. When Mari was fast asleep

his wicked and jealous father blocked his (Maris's) door and

set fire on his room. Yamta was after all happy again because

he thought he could do away with Mari successfully by that

means. Luckly Marl however was not burnt in the fire but mana-

ged to escape by the roco. The next morning wicked Yamta de-

clared that Mari was burnt, when his room caught fire at night,

not knowing that Mari had escaped.

Mari escaped and went to Virahyel. All surrounding vil-

lagers trooped to Mandara-Girakifor Mari's funeral. As the

villagers were walking by they met Mari but they did not know

that he was the one. Mari then asked them where they were

going and they said they were going to MandaraGirak to attend

Mari's funeral. He then asked them to deliver a message for

him to Yamta his father, that he (Marl) Was at Virahyel seated,

that if Yamta was not a coward let him (Yamta) come so that

they could prepare milk and Tikira He (Mari) possessed milk

and that Yamta should bring the tikira.

(tikira is a type of food made out of flour.)


They are made in a round form and is usually taken with milk.

The villagers were puzzled on hearing that Mari whomthey were

going for his funeral was still alife and sefLed at Virahyel.

They were afraid to deliver such message to Yamta so they went

back without delivering it. Mari kept on waiting for his

father (Yamta) to come but that never availed. He then con-

tinued to send the villagers but still they were fearing to

tell Yamta the message. At last people from a certain vil-

lage were passing when Mari caught a glimpse of them. They

asked them where they were going. They said that they were

going to attend Mari funeral. Then I-ari told them that they

should tell Yamta his father that he (1Mari) was seated at

04 5c. Vilahyel ,"unsss" hnd thd Yamta should come with Iilk and he

(Mari) will provide tikira so that they could prepare milk and

take together. He then added that if IM.ari had no milk he could

bring either which was possible for him. Mari kept on

waiting for his fathers coming but he never did. The villagers

na]aa reached Mandara and greeted Yamta and his wives then the

remaining six children. As they were just leaving one of the

villagers remna t- the message they were sent to deliver, to

Yamta. The villagers shouted our Lord bereaved, "of course

when we were coing.. we saw someone who called himsel:L Miari

He said that thus, "he (T-ari) seated at Virahyel was waiting for

you. H e (Nari) sa>' that you should go wit-h either milk or

tikira so that you should prepare milk and take together.

IPari said, that he was seated HTnssss at Virahyel and would con-

tinue to wait for .your arriv:,l. Of cour-eo .ari .lid not go.

On hearing the message Ya-ta began to wander whether the

message was a dream. He became awfully annoye-l and he told

the villa or who gavo 27 :e J. 1 ossa. -c I- '-t ty -,ehouill go

like.-i-d ),. econe vagabond. He. alo voed "T thorn., Yar".t. bored

with the news continued to woCder *-.w.,!t lbyp o .' n it

W'Z, .

11T.1 .

Because I ari stayed at Vir-ahyo1 fter his escape h e was

later kno mn as .ari Viriahyel.

The people Yanta woed were later Called I Shamr (wid)

people. P.ost of themof course became wi-i. people or hooligans.

Then one of t'he Shambar people die outside Shambar vil-

lacge; the village closest to where th. death had taken place,

the people of -that village would c r.ry the corps to the

village nex::t to thm. The people of that village would also

carry it further to thr village neo-t to theirs. Until this

continued to the point where the corps had gone too bad. 'Then

it gets too bbad to be carried further then it would be buried

in that village but one of his fingers must b cut and sent

to the Sharib,,.r village. The grave sorld ..: roofed ur'- '" a

every wet-season if not the consequence will result into too

much wind which of course would be very disastrous. The

wind could destroy a whole village in few hours.

As Yamta was tempered by the message, he never a rest of

mind. One day after a days break Yamta went in, put on his

best shirt and his shoes were on too. It wa.s of course a

hTriracle that Yamta's sleeping room had no enterance. It was of

only that evening tht he showed up t'at secret openz.y]

Yamta then got a stool a.d sat down in the middle of the room.

Yamta's wife sent her daughter to go and call him for a

brief discussion. On the arrival she saw Yamta sitting a-d

she delivered the message. He agreed to go but never turn:'up,

so his wife was compelled to send the girl back with same mes-

sage. It was a miraclous thing when the :girl -et her father

this time sinking into the ground. She did as she was told and

delivered the message. Yamta still agreed to appear but never

did so. She want hack to her mother and t li e' that father

said ho would be coming but -,-:nt n to .ay ft'*. she found him

sinking into the -round. Th rot 'or fla tly deni- th truth

about Yamta sinki-'g, and said. th t she has never seen a sink-

ing-man so hetr daughter should s op s':ch joke. e mo thor

P1.1. 3AYT\

sent her daughter again as. she fovuvl an.rt still sinking,

inTact lie wa n early sun; Th gir.l r .eJ i- ediately to

her mo' eor and told hr o, what she hlad .e.. 2 happening to

Yamta. By th:'-t tine only thle ]n. a' ip his hair (jikw.Tar)

wai.s still vis-;iblc. WIhen his wi"e ca'e, !>e aholited but

could hear nothing Crom her husband. She took I lmnife an.d

the n.:;, hra.ir ( jik.1r) She then covered the top of the

sinki'.. whole w-ith a c alabh. n.hat ,spot eventually became

grave of Yan'ta j Vala. I fence w:-Ls constructed rcu A.i the

Crave and rooPed. The hair could besn seen even today at


The early ma. of Biv were given the h.air wh ,:; tey

assume office. The hairs were fir--t .iven to Yamntara.ala's

children the eldest first and the younjet last. TIari

Virahyel got it last. Some of the early mais who got the

hairs are:-

Kuthli (mai) Pastor
Ali. Gurcor

Kuthli Ali Guru-r was the last to be given the hair.

After him it was not given to the succeedi-,"g iais because a

dispute aroused during the reign of Ali G!'7r-ur. It was

said that it was not Ali Gurur, who, was supposed to reign.

that time. At the ti-me ;.f the dis--e te the whitemen were

at BiAso tf'ey .ave h clchieftaincy to 11i G..r.r.

The pop-i.e -.. o belo ie.l to the Zoa]. cl i-: held the res-

ponsible for taking care o ` Yaa.-arawala's g-rave. The grave

today is surrounded by a stone building.

(The intorvie-: co .'.ilnue:1. with the coming of t;he white-


W H I T M H E IT. /

LADUT is still the informant. n /

Ladan started by saying that long time ago there lived

a King called Petera Ala. His kingdom covered a very great

mass of land that it was hard to tell the end of the kingdom,

The kingdom was centred around Bornu. Petera Ala, was known

for his great skills at war far beyond his kingdom. For

that reason, the whi\temen came to know about him an- they

decided that they must see this great warrior and fight their

way and his kingdom.

The whitemen ca.,-e an. fought Petera Ala but they kno\

enough for him. He killed one white warrior and that shock

the score of -white warrior that made retreat. Before they

leave they built a concrete around their partner grave. The

whitemen thought the best way to win this iar was to reinforce

with more sophisticated weapons: so that was why the retreat.

Mbwarmi was a neighbourhood kingdom to that of Petera Ala.

At Mbarmi there was also a well known warrior who became worried

over the- progress Petera Ala was making. However, their was

an Lnter-marriage between the two royal families. The prince

at rbarmi Yallam Dzis son married Petera Ala's daughter

(princess). The princess was called Awa whose brotherwas given

the name ITammam Nyabi. The marria':e between the two royal

families happened when the prince at Mbarmi paid a courtesy

call on Petera Ala. After the marriage Petera Ala gave a

portion of his kingdom to the Prince of Mbarmi so that they

could stay happily near with his wife. Although the prince

of Mbarmi saxthat had another objective of coming to stay with

Petera Ala. His motive was that if the whitemen succeed in

killing Petera Ala in the second encounter then he will try his

uttmost best to kill I-amman Ilyabi his wife's brother so that

the kingdom would be his.



The second enmunter between Petera Ala and the whitemen

had apparently came up when the white's having re-armed them-

selves found their way back to Petera Ala's kingdom. They

sent a message to Petera Ala that the war was in sight so

that he should be prepared to receive them. After receiving

the message Petera Ala began to prepare. When he was through

with the preparations he told his son, Mamman Nyabi, that he

was going to war. Petera Ala gave this message to Mamman

Nyabi ?'Inase I do not come back and supposing another breaks

after I have left use this ring in your gun and the war shall

be won by you". He then took o:;.t a ring and gave it to

Mamman Nyabi. At the time of delivering the ring Iarmman Nyabi's

sister (the sife of Mbarmi prince) was present, Petera Ala

instructed his son to keep the ring in the front ad pocket of

his shirt. He also went further telling him to pin it so that

it could not drop out when he bends down. After giving the

instruction Petera Ala and his warriors left for the war.

Petera Ala and his company continued to advance as the

white warriors were approaching. The moment the two enemies

met both raised their flags of war. Immediately after raising

the flags, exchange of shots fo-llewed and there the war con-

tinued. Unfortunately at the war Petera. Ala was shot dead.

The message of Petera Ala's death reached the ears of Mamman

Nyabi and soon he took to preparing himself for the war. The

prince of Mbarmi, however, was pleased about Petera Ala's death

and he told his wife that they should go back to Mbarmi and

greet the king. The motives behind the Prince of IMbarmi's

going back was to go and prepare himself for a war with Mamman

Nyabi. Although, the prince of MIbarmi was going to prepare

for war, he still entered his war shirts and shields. Awa on

seeing her husband wearing his war clothes nent to tell her

brother what was apparently going to happen. Sihe, Awa got

herself ready also for the war. She told Mar-man Nyabi her


brother all that was happening and she asked him to get ready

for a war. Mamman Nyabi did not hesitate but went on straight

to have himself ready and his company too. The prince of

Mbarmi not knowing what was happening thought that his plan

was still undiscovered. He told his wife Awa that he was

ready therefore, they should leave immediately.

Mamman Nyabi being the the brother inlaw of the Prince of

Mbarmi decided to give an escort to the Prince. Then they

all started off until they reached a place where K',aman had

to turn back and bid his bye-bye to the Prince.

Immediately Mamman Nyabi turned to go back he had a ter-

rific shot from the prince's side. He (IMamman Nyabi) shot

back and they began even exchange. There was however, no

killing on either side until suddenly Awa told her brother not

to forget what their father had told him to do when war occur.

He soon recalled the fathers instruction and he removed from

the front pocket a ring which he inserted into his gun. Time

had come for the Prince of Mbarmi to take advantage of his

last breathe ixxtakR for Mamman Nyabi's last shot was going

to finish him for ever. The last went and it got the Prince

right in the skulls and at last he played under his horse 7.

hopelessly breatheless. That was the end of Prince of M]barmi

and his people. Awa the prince's wife followed her brother

back home after driving the Prince war-men.

The whitemen- after defeating Petera Ala and his company

now, they took to other kingdoms. Their next target was Mbarmi.

At Mbarmi the whitemen faced the same bad luck as their first

encounter with the Petera Ala. One of the whitement was killed

and they buried him likewise an- built a concrete around his

grave then went back. On their return they found that Mbarmi

township was well fortified. Not a single petSon could be

sighted going about. Infact all the people in the town were

kept inddors except one boy and a girl who went staice quite


long to greet relatives in a village faraway. The villagers

sent bags to the Rivers to fetch water. As it was so, the

whitemen were compelled to burn the whole villa -e to ashes.

Luckly it was that single girl and boy that escaped.

As the two strategic places were over- n- the whitemen
began to advance southerly until they cane to BiL area. The

informant said that this was the way in which the whitemen

found their way to this area. They fought their way by en-

countering heavy and light wars.

74oI( (s o Ll kK




Around him are three of his children:-

Mari, Buka and Haruna

Time 7.40 in the evening,

Place Infront of his Room

The informant says that the Malgwi clan long time ago

settled at CHARA. They later moved and settled at Viramta.

He said that it was their group of people who gave rise

to the different Nyarmb?'7s (segments) of the .algwi clan.

Malgwi Mandara Karwa.

LOng time ago there lived a member of the i-algwi clan

around Garua inthe east. He had settled there for quite a

long time when his children began to die one after the other

until all of then had died. The next tragedy that followed

was the death of his wives until he was left lonely. Filled

up withsuch tragedies he decided to migrate to a far place

in case he might forgot about his short comings. The place

he had settled in during the period of tragedies was called

?.ANDARA from whihh he established his ITyarmba. His migration

however, took him westerly until he reached a place near 3ift

called VIRAITA. At Virauta he met the Ka-lwi's who had come

from CHARA. He then lodged with one of the ;algwi elderes\ in

the village. He was serving s.: servs-imit in the custody of his

master. He had to go to far- and cut gras;, fr ',he horse,

goats an_ sheep'. Tir-e was pa:,i ,g ''a t ; : '- : aged.

His master w.a:' o le sd .'. hic' t':,., ho ccil. to

give hi'" .ne of his dau-hterr for n;.rri:J- T.. .;, o".re rried

ha,,-.:ily n' t y co- t1in1 to .t .y 7. i a.. ti-'e w-:.

going by the girl w-'- ;'nncei'ved :1d 1 -;r." "'.ve b", th to a boy.

After aoth lan... of 'ime th -.' o c'. 'e ".' .ve rt. to their

secon:.d chi.l w'T' ch ,r' .l o C boy. They ,rew3. u._ iit' I .dulto

and bho an to look -n. wive'.

The firnt child got married and wo-t to settle atK 3ALA

Hear VinZ. The second chiAl a'loo Cot m"'arri.d but settled

with his father, r n o-'i e bofo"e going L; sc.t;le. ith his

brother at MBiala. At Bwal-. the elder boy' s wife save birth

to two children. The younger brother's wife C'.vo birth to

only a child.

The two children of the elder brother .:grew up A ,ot

married. The el:jost of the two went to T7",GU to settle there

with his wi "e. The younfos t brother went to settle at FIBA

I17A B.IUR.. The son of the younger brother also crew up and got

married. He too did not settle 'ith hi Cath'r but went to

settle at I T.RA with 'in O re. This chaip w-n to L co-o the

stamina of one YTyarryba. The two sons of 1'e oler brother

gave rise to two different NTTya.nmbai.

A.t N.wara' his wife c've birth to a child of cduarse a boy

who was called S. J'.UJ. Saran grew up an : 'in father got a wife

for him. Til.e the other- before him, he did not remain with

his father but moved Lo DXJTOITT,, near Sawn:'a where he settledwith

the newly wed. At Dangiss he built a mighty house. Ie also

had his second. wi, at.i Dangiss.

His first wifo p.2ve birth to a boy whon he called

YM''.J-UI. The secoe' wife ho over had fie -hilre. All the

six children soon Crew up ain 1 .t marri d respectively.

Yakwarki et'.:.1 -ith his wi fe at Dan'isa fo:' so-etimnes

then decided to move on to S.hwa. t n he h:i 'is seco

wife. Yalkwarki however, did not settle locin., a, 3alw.a hut .oved

further to TAJTGA. But while s-1], at Dangisa his firAt wi.t e gcve

birth to his first child called 70D1.. BTU70-'-A who was the

seco:n1. chi:d belo. c to1 second wife ad he was born at


11I. T. 13AYJ_'7!

Yakwarki's third _son was killed during w' .r. The fourth son

was called ATJILTI. YskLwarki also had three dau:,htert a .ch

of these daughter w called !adla.bi, ITchikiwuta and the

last ''andu. The eldest son .ot carried to Awa.

Yaiidala the eldest so, had six wives

1st wife called Awa
2nd Jinatuwa
3rd x forgotten
4th Jalan Lubuli Sa.wa
5th Tsutiya.
6th Na Injil Pindar

AmonC the five children belongjin'. to Ya:._idala only o-e

was a boy. He is called Fari. The re--, inin. five are females.

Hari's mother was called Tsutiya. The eldest a-o,--.LC hiss child-

ren is UTaravi ITjamna rho is how at ran' ada. Far. is dwelled at

Sakwa with two wives and six children. His another w.. called

Tsutiya. 7"ari 'jamna's r-other -axs ExIi"Ed ,idalds first wife and

she was called Awa. The second wife called Jinatuwa save birth

to Sikta. The third wife whose na' e was forgotten -cave rise

to Jhlama. The fourth wie of course cave rise to Yambikatawa

who is married with children at i.duraku. -a Anyi I Pardar was

early divorced because she was a thief and she never bore any

child for Yalnidala.

Mari migrated from Tanga to Tsahuyan where he h"ad his first

two children who are still alife. His first, is called Kwamting

and his second wife is called Thlama. The first two children

who are both feo, ale belong to Thlama. The first wife's child-

ren from first to fourth all died. The last two are still alive.

Two of Thlama's children also died but altogether she had two

girls and two boys.

The names of his children are:-
Mariyamu Imiyalada girl
Nusa Asugu boy
Shatu Harmali Cirl
Abu N.bami "
Bukar Kirwakari boy
Haruna Bata "

Nariamu is now married to a husband and they are now working

in Zaria (Institute of Education A.B.U.).


She has three children. The first child is about eight years

and he is called Peter. The second is about five years and

he is called Yusufu. The third child is about two years and

he is also called Ishaku.

Shatu is married to a husband and they are now staying

in Lagos. She has two children. The first child is Mariamu

and the second child is called Ibrahim. Sheri's father is a,

soldier. Musa, Abu, Bukar and Haruna are all attending schools

respectively. From Tsabuyam Mari moved to MIbirti and then

later to Barki Sakwa a where is now living.


Sarau was widely known during his life time and many years

later as a great warrior. The news about this great warrior

spread from Virahyel in the north-east of BIVLto the Hewal

River in the south. He lived at the same time as Mari Virahyel

the youngest son of Yamtarawala. Mari Virahyel heard about this

great warrior at Virahyel and he decided to friend him for


Sarau was then settled at Dangiss and he was well known for

his bravery at wars. He was known to i be great because he

used to come back from wars with mayy war refuges (captors).

Mari Virahyel was also engaged in the same activity at Virahyel

Mari began to fear that this warrior may one day come his way

and that could possibly result ihto a dangerous encounter. Mari.

decided to get Sarau so that they cou..d plan and arrange a

treaty. Marri then started oj:f from Virahyel to Dangiss and he

met Mari where they discussed the issue. A treaty was signed

that they should never fight each and from that day they became


As the chieftaincy was then in the hands of Mari Virahyel,

he crowned Sarau with Kingship of Sakwa. Sarau then moved out

of Dangiss and went to settle at Sakwa.

i JI J.... ,

Before Sagau left Dangisa the informant s.Vys that

Dangisa used to be invisible during wars. 'hen warriors

couie to attack Dongisa before they could co'c close buttor-

flies would fill the space between th. warriors Aid Dangsia

villa :e iano thai,t would render it invisible. jarau used to

be a great slave dealer. After collecting th. war refuses

he would call his re'res.ta-.tiv.s (ate.?.o) anr distribute

the refu,-'- to them-. Whir ll of th- h-ve sold the s1 ..oc

thay would brinZ tho monoy back to A.

The i nfmrnat says that ;ho objec t-.es behind .J ari

Virahyel's appointont of Sarau. ao tUe Iaiu of 'Jk--, in t'.at

h.e wanted him; to l.a.ve M)an.'isa so that h e could not hin

easily. ',arau did co and wc winter ('v.r-rnn by .nlo?' w'rrior

because at ..',k n.-ithinj c:'uld n.a'' th vill e :visibhln.

.; J 4-0


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IBRA.I' ':... I was the in frmant

SInt rvie,;, t'oc.k plac. in hs roo.

Time:- 7.50 .' on 25/7/73.

There was no o-e around.

The informant -start;ed by saying that hen i ;' -re is a

place where a gath.'ring of pi.ritos t.a]. lac e refer to

such places an; .-Iaptu or I'illim. Haptu irn ,2hort is therefore,

a conogre .tion o: spir: tes. In s.ch plac7 her. con-

gregation of spir.ites are found the places are usually isolated

an. feared. Trhe e r .-'e feared because the,- cas.i cam::t evil things

on people. The infor<'m t .e. on t.o say t'..t a. depressed

person goes to the heaptu or -illi' aT explains hi-s problems

the spi ri teo o[ t, .lilli- or h-.ptu woulJ3 do te'-io ',. to see

that there are solutions to his problems. Tut after the person

is pleased and he forcots to thank the spirits by sacrificing

Something to them than they eventually get crossed with the

person and in turn would have the person punished fror deceiving

them. They will therefore do evil unto him.

Normally the type of depres.;ed person t:lrt ;o out to sec the

Millims or Haptu are (a) those women who caun t Ji:ve birth to

child (barren). (b) Those women whosechildren normally die luring

infancy. (c) ''hen a young man dies at the d ase of say twenty

to thirty then his parents :.iould think that it nust have been

somebody's evil-cast that has caused hi;s de-.t.. (d) .h.n some-

body is al..ys hit by sickness and he is never well for long,

(e) when someone's house ,ets burnt and the cau-;e is not known

(f) Some people who see t'-in.,:s which others cannot see at night

or during day time but at( ulsu). Mostly it -s young children

who are engaged in evil activities wulsu. There are others

scores of this type of people who goes to the :.-ptu when depressed

in one form or the other.

The ty-pe of people who go to the .Haptu for want of richness
^(^J oi^:^noj Jf[[ 1~wi t Ai 111,6LIL Catu.v \1, 1C) V 01 li(CTk
Ou4. dLL\^xj: t"A'.^GA\^ *WCV 5kcLl\^L'./

T- T. T T

and end up badly if they fail to give thehaptu a human being.

A human being normally a person's child must be given to the

haptu or killed for it as an offer of sacrifice to console it.

If the person fails to offer the human being then if he is not

fortunate the haptu would kill him for having promised him

(haptu) in vain. Very few people therefore go to the haptus

for richness. Oneof the examples of the ha tus well known in

Bura lahd is Mararim inthe Marama Hills.

When somebody doubts his sickness when he is not well,

that, his sickness is ndt a natural sickness caused by disease

then, he would go to a soothsayer. If the soothsayer says

that he has been tempered with, by someone's evil doings then

he would go to a haptu directed by the soothsayer. Normally

the soothsayer would give the person a clue of the person who

is doing the evils. So' when he goes to a haptu he would explain

to the haptu his problem.. He would at the same time promise

the haptu that he would give him (haptu) either a goat, sheep

or a chicken.

He wo uld say then before so and so date "let me see some-

thing being done to the evil doer and let me get my normal

health. As the days go by, if it is true that his sickness

has been caused bj someone's evil doing then she would be re-

covering. At the same time also the evil doer would be falling

sick. Soon he would collapse and die and the victim of the

evil doer would soon gain consciousness and in no time would

completely recover and the day of promise has corethen an offer

of what was promised must be done. The evil doer by then would

have died. If the victim of the evil\ doew fails to offer

the sacrifice as planned would of cers-e possess something

even less and, give thehaptu to please himn for sometime, but



if refuses to offer anything at all, he w uld then face the

consequences. The haptu would turn for him or her until she

rushes for a thing to be offered to the haptu. If the pro-

mised days go past and some maths go past still not done to

the haptu then the spirits would get crossed and would plan

evil again the victim of the evil doer, for having promised in

vain. The spirits of the haptu would either him or her or

kill one of his or her children. Another penalty could take

shape inthe- form of fire accident in which all the properties

of the person would be burnt.

When villagers see a group of such spirits they the vil-

lagers would go out to the spirits andbeg for their associa-

tion. When they are associated with the villagers they would

render them guidance. The villagers would also "ake a promise

that they would be caring for them spiritse) by offering them

sacrifices yearly or timely. From thereon they would stay as

two friendly nations. At times of trouble they would rush to

the Millim (we call such haptus owned by all villagers of a

village as Millim) to s k for advice. When the time of sacri-

fice co-"es the whole villagers would go out to ofer the sacri-

fice. If the sacrifice is in a form of animals they would buy

the animal collectively and the village head who has closer

association with the spirits will perform the slaughtering.

Normally before the slaughtering the village-head will

chat withe the spiris for say five minutes in which he will

ask them to continue to offer their guidance to the village

without hesitation. He would thank them and scatter beniseeds

and other special grains. During such occasions there would

be no work at all in that village to show that the villagers

respect\ the spirits.


Then, after the slaughtering the blood is only meant for the

spirits but the meat remains fur the villagers. The meat is

shared by all the villagers small or big. The meat could be

distributed from house to house so that each family would get

a piece. On other occasions the whole meat is roasted by the

S haptu or MIillim side and the whole village would troop out to

share the roasted meat. The elders believe that this form

t pleases the spirits more than sharing piece by each family.

SThey always feel that when the spirits see the whole villagers

(t, coming out they spiritse) wo:ld be pleased.

One way in which some people come to own their own haptu

< is by going to the place where the person thinks or once

" heard that spirits are living there. The person would then

explain his or her problems to the spirits and hence promise

them that if t ey could find a solution to the problems depres-

sing him or her, she/he would come immediately and collect

them spiritses. It is so happened that in due course the depres-

sed finds solution to his/her problems then she/he would tend

to believe so much that it was the work of the spirits of the

haptu that caused it. Shp/he would then go and collect the

haptu and find a place for it in the home, hence, owning the

haptu. She/he would then be caring for it all the ti-e until

his/her death. If the children of this person also believe in

the haptu the eldest would adopt it after the death of the

previous owner. All the children would be adopting it SEaauffly.

successfully from the eldest to the youngest. The haptu would

then be continuously adopted by the children, grand-children

and those who would come next. This is how people come to

have their own haptus.

The informant also added that sometimes the spirits of the

haptus are below water. As he said, they dwell at the bottom

of the water but come out occasionally to view the outside to

see the worldly things.


When they understand that they are being watched than they

quickly disappear into the water and consequently reach their

dwelling places. When several of such observations are

approved that really such spirits are at the bottom of the

water then the people would start to believe that this water

must be haptu's. If on some occasions the water happens to

drown someone the people would begin to speculate that the

spirits of the water (haptu) must have been offended, that

is why the person was drowned. The people would start Joing

to bow before the water for the spirits. When someone falls

sick they the villagers would go and fetch the water a;id bathe

the sick person in it. For example Lake Tila is one of the

few existing Lakes whose water is still used today for such

purposes. Sometimres the water wo-uld be used in cooking some

medicine for the diseases. Other ties a chicken would be killed

and cooked only with such water alone.

I had one time gone to .e Ljib kwajama (..wajama=-well) to

fetch such _water when I never went to school. Iy mother had

one time also used the Tila (Lake) water to cook a chicken for


Most people who believe in haptu thinks that any stomach

disease that cau.-s the stomach t0o rrow n:. rejectt o:,, like

a preanant woman m'ost 'e the work of .uch Utr s iiios.

They would thin'lk t, ._ dese .oe must hIve annoyed the spiribos,

or of .'n of his clo.;oe relatives the peop. in the sne

iTyarmba or- hi. an.cetor-a ':_ ; havo annoyo, o iit ]. tho

w..t r e a i 2.1 .>, .,-0.',- '; : :,o "-ve ]7,- (2 '--.2 ; ; ,..I W h

disease ,o infect 'ie porcon. They o 5 t w-' n6t t.'e

work of T;he spiri7O7. TTow. -" d ,tor -t i-, co- .

stomach to :* h 1 ; r. .

They ao A.'d simply say t. : t A lhe r:,irit -: ;; '. u i :,-, A '.o

cu.'e water enter into Mth: sitor 'c o? ., -lec2-: od o.n 'c

Every whure a o .ali .. : ,.r 0 o 1 : ..- 10

here is c..n es of ar-l:o in:, Uthol victor' of ,..- t. nor -illy

Coas to ao h- .pn. a n requen.,t the h, tu1' nos i 'L u in ,r-.ci.

t'- -thief. It; v- 1 -o !0 'lio j. ve-. that when "....-i co-r. itt :n

evil. thin- "'n., puin r;lmt coO'li e -octly no 's on hi-3

close rel'-0'vc-.. It coul.I sl-o oe on eit";;- hO' i child ]-'V" or

cnuld :rio n',en so -:one in' ncrt i4; iynrba doos 'n evil

t;hin.l. .A .., -, -;' eai 3 to. t i.ce v t': : co pua'i. h.

.hi 1 o T ,L .. L in. ,:,:- -;* oddly .rith' '. .t

ti C o Lh '.; pcpl. world -.csT ',ethit it r- -' lr :.n nho

did t'o o.lin'. If .anybody in; rwn in th_-L p..--,-s yr-

bo. to ho n thief, the people will scu-e tha, i- t th >t ,

th-.t, per-oni cm.anc.- the de-.th of his fellow man.

There is no ,., acil.. ypr' . t- t own'-r 1 u. 'f

course any p er on c-n o'-.i it c ' e '-o 'n" be e;xtra.-

ordinnry careful not to off itho :jpiri: '. of ;- h i. -. An,,

person con own it '.Lnd it cun Lo inh :1.r t A undcr c ,;rtain. con-

ditions. people of s3--2 3yqrrwn-i. iay collcotivaly own *,2

rinOl h2. t h1 O'Thn Wthi h- 'tn c" -Id continvouly re"o-ain und or

t'e cre o this '.rinfbwa. A child a-y inherit .- father' s

or moth-er's h r'p u only V'c ,:r thc o'et;'. of the father or another.

The infor,-,n *:-o.i- th.t t 2re i2 no co.. 0. t i. spoci'.li ed

for k-ee.-i M" t hN. t;.. It : -n .lo undor tood that if a haptu is

not inh -rit-d "nd great c.re talen ovori te 1.'irites would

be o C'ended ..nd nthe y woul attack the pnr.on ;,ho A .u supposed

to inherit theo. Do sons of people o:nini ', pt i.dopt ',:.

haptus for fear of evil doing by the spiri te of tho h.ptu.

today the tw.o predo-'lin',int reliji0 o'': b vo ocor d mu. duch

inflqe."c on .almo.", ; evoybod-~ 0o "nout peop1 are ton- iC n.Ay

frou pract'a;in; hi.tu. Thoo people ;who only jo o t '. 'tu .bu.

do nc 'reop h:-.tu ... :'.lso disco *r -_ l none of he I; ;u ro-

liagions all.ors V' pr.ct:ic. e of haptu ,o0 ny pery w ho belorn

to one of the reliioL:; hao to iv, up ths puctice. As the

tw oo bcoos eAc0 bolc.i] : to ait""'r .'e' -': T dj '1od oly

persons b ]lor;cii: to any of W, .'-el i -j c "',.. :' t-h 'ol

book in pl-,ce of 'ap '. Dec.=u2 e on ;3vr'Al o. cnaiona: hen

there were casee: of thoft eole "- .. e to ..'e".r e-' i*'- the

Bible or th' 'uran just ac the h .atun .r -.proached .urTi.r'in.r

the c' .:; of ti iof. '. Th.e i~nOc of ''. '. ' .' .. 'ore boo-

on th ': d''cli :e i..-0 th1.'; co ,in of AhEC t. rel 'jon:.". .l oo the

coning *.-j preence. of he whit-'"'c i help. d! r;coirv;",e thos.0e .ho

practice ha.ptu. The introduction of school: i;n -ho- loc'-l .re s

had very '-uch hel"e, the dcli ]. in .rn.cticing hN:,cDi.

Prom li.vin -. -ery .r inforT'an-t al e;d -t'. the number

of hp.tus in his cl.n h n t i.ncre.nod, i 'Ito::.d it ,=.; decreased

for obvic"o reA'r.o 'ention bovo. The if ... nt co '.Id nc;

tell e-'ctly .l ty 1 ore w-n no 1 .ce in 0 I ibdr 1fo 7e the_

occur.nco 's of : reaons above.

The frequmncy of vinii to O ho .tus delonoTi la-rZolyon ho.r

after a p'roon .I diseased in A certain Qyarn-w. One c'". Co to

any haptu anyti. e the person is expressed. But the ordinary

visit for sacri ice is ti-o01y. 30o' haDp' .; "re 0 oros ip- I -

th.t .. when a sacrifice i offered t;o 1; .' hpitn once year.

Others could be eit':er evory t-.o yoars '.-' every three yo-.rs up

to every seven years. Other haptus like the wiAlx 's ,worshipd

many ties in a yoar. The Bwal is believed :o ca.:-.e eye diseases

if it is offended.

-q IA ~

C\( (~Z&'.~~* -~ ~ k-.\Q

cv---. ~ ~* ,* ~ 5 (N


1~~~~~~ ~

2-*- ,-.






p (~)-- -~
I -

~ K ~. C+p~ C'Qj2.-~

~) ~

----I' '-'--

:0^ .-, 0 ^-, ^** ')

i 1 L "-'
k .

/ -"" '- ',"-"
n L .. o ,-


i. A
( c 0 r> -, C- L
Qn(%- -GA' 1 c

.-^. (' 0.--^
-,_;,, ,, .2 ,_

,'-C I

:-.:,.. .-,2 .( .. "

,) V/ l 9

-1 /
r. .,A _C-^ K-

,,v- cd Il

So, anytime thefe is eye trouble like the poloo a chliclkn rust

be slaughtered for it. There are different forms of the rhal

as can be seen below. The most usual ways in which haptu

owners consolethe haptus when they (haptus) are offended is

by supplying blood for them (haptu)


This is a type of Bwal
with two branches. Some

connecting strands can also

be seen. It is a man-made


(b) This is similar to the

above one and it is the

most co'-n-on of the EB''.LS

found in homes and at the

tip of the branches can be

seen two holes where blood

enters when chicken is sacri-

ficed for it.

TT. !3 ^ ATF' ,'i

~ ~-~C~** ~ -


/ .._J .

- .-..---------..--


7. cc,


This is another form

(c) of B71,J but there is no

long branch.


This figure above is another form c'f B/AL. It has many

projections as shownm in the diagram. It is next to be as

commonly found in the homes.



1/ /
* A- .


93..... ";

.... ..-. ..


I .--- .


__ N-.ez n. --. .. ..

So: S.(.C rjQ Q* V-



Diagram II


(a) A sidely grooved stone where a little of the blood

of the sacrificed animal is poured.

(b) A slender standing stone on which beer is poured.

(c) Some old trees surrounding the two stones.

All of these are collectively called K I L L I IC


~ ~-4Ye4 Uc~xj NJ


Some of the man-made haptus found in the homes.

Diagram III


(a) A piece of steel broken off f:'-m a much longer one

usa during something for lengthning steel.

(b) A steel in the form of a stunning fork.

Oc) is an 3 shaped steel
All those steels are found together in the homes and such
collection is called haptu.


L~Jt~~~K k[~AAki\V7 ~O~Q ~mQ~V. i~cV QV~t.9o .Wj --4
1......~-\(kJ ~ ~ ~ -~-kYCNTh\~W. -

1~ ----------~-~- -. I,' .. -... --
2? ... 9.-.-. ~...,L.L...- .......-

~ _~CV'
S-----.. -. ./<' -~*.*.* 4\~~... _
/./ r

1~-- -. . I I.

/ I I
I. 'I .
.1~. /
I .
I I" / I;

I 4

- '4

ii .. . .

1(~* A~u Y~-1~A~il x ...AL ~

.. S ~F-~~cZXcL2~ ~ ~ ~

~- ~

~ .&-~~QJ L.~' f?~-dt.t~\) ~Yr. k ~ ~ .Y(W... -~

-~ ..-- -. JL~ C~ c~ ~ ~ 4


This haptu is sometimes found out in the country side

sometimes in the homes.

Diagram IV

It is one of the large hap-tus. It .s surrc ouded by


(a) .. is a stone, narrowed towards the tip and broader

aroulvd three qua 'ters length o?'. e stone -ad the rear

end s litt le narrow l"lso.

(b) .. is a small brol:on calabnah or pot '.ere blood is

poure- fl r the spirites of ::h:, 'i;'.p

The lines o- ,::: r on- shws '.hrO t'e r 0o.red & i",; -

hans ran down.

I -
~ .
OQ ~ ~. -~ Q~x

~9 ~-e~~ ry-~ c~A~q~ 'J~C\ C%.Qq. ~

A~ ~ -.

A. .A...

*. ~ NJ .

-- 7K

/ --


-~ -....- -
-......-- -

~ ~

..~.. .4

. I 3 ,J .1

The diagr2in below is mnot''er for" of hart -. It con-

sists of several horns of n. bull "r bune.lo. It to com-

bined with oW;aor -,m-mrvde h'apt1u to Tori co"plt' '.'.pt .

It is kpt i'ide3 room '..d sacrifice in i-n to it tiiel-y.

Di. -ra'- V

A p;air o'f b'l.l horno.

Purpose :f ,.91 "orms soo r- e 177.

M.I. SAiKWA 56


The present religious domination of the Dur (Malgwi)

and the Nyarmba (Mandaskarwa) is the Islamic religion. The

Islamic religion is dominant although substantial member of

the clan practice christianity. It is nearly half half the

number of people who worship in the two religious.

The practice started long ago by the members of the

Nyarmba about 50 years ago. It came from the Kanem Bornu

areas and spread southwards to Biu and south to Sakwa. Chris-

tianity came during the coming of the missionaries. Christia-

nity was first established at Garkida and spread westerly to


Both the religioibs are not spreading today. Today the

vigour with which people accept the religious is declining.

Today therefore the two religious are not spreading neither

are spreading.

8.40 a.m. the interview ended.


25th July, 1975


9.30 a.m. interview taking place in Ibrahim Maris

room. There was no one around.

The informant started by saying that long ago there lived

a king who owned a large kingdom in the North-Bornu. This

king had two wives who conceived at almost the same time.

The other wife's pregnancy was not the king's but was someone

else. The two wives gave birth to a boy each. These boys

grew up together happily. It was hard to distinguish who was

the king's son and who was not. Yamta was known to be a bas-

tard but now it w.i-s hard to tell.

Time was going by and the king died. The question of who

was to succeed him became apparent. The king was buried in the

normal rites in which Kings are buried. The time to choose a

successor had also came but the trouble was who possessed the

right to succeed:-, Yamta or the actual Prince. Since it was

hard to tell who i.as the kings and who was not, the elders tried

the two young men. They decided to give them a cow each to

slaughter and the person who did in the ways the king slaughter

without folly would be considered the real son of the king.

A cow was given to each boy. The king's house possessed

two gates and a boy was in each gate. The cow was made to face

westerly, ropes and knives were given them and they were asked

to do the slaughtering in the normal rites.

Yamta simply took the rope and tie the cow' legs and

asked someone to land the cow. The cow was landed and Yamta

did a small hole and took his knife and cut the cow's neck

while it was facing westerly.


It was considered wrong to slaughter any animal facing the Vwest.

The other youngman then did it uniquely. He asked someone to

tie up the cow and later did a small hole. He at the sometime

asked someone to go and sharpen the knife but should not allow

the cow see it. IWhen the sharpened knife was brought the actu-

al prince asked those who were standing by to land the cow and

also they should make sure that it (cow) should face the east

directly. He also sent for water to be brought which he would

use after the slaughtering in washing the blood off the cow's

neck and also washing the knife together with his hands. When

all the necessary things were brought he marched to the cow fa-

cing the easterly and recited a verse and then cautionly slau-

ghter the animal.

As the elders were watching they all became impressed with

the ways the prince perform the slaughtering and so they rushed

to him and carried him on their shoulders shouting you are the

greatest anL. our king. On the other hand Yamta was bluffed and

was laughed at. He got annoyed for the teasing and having lost

the Kingship of the kingdom decided to leave home finally and

never come batk.

Yamta was an excellent hunter and he managed his way by de-

fending himself away from wild life and he journeyed south-east-

erly until he reached some small kingdoms. His rival, the

prince was happy on the throne and he was the master of his king-

dom. InYamta's journey towards Biu he'h-edof a great kingdom

which never at one time ever became a subject of defeat. He de-

cided to find solution to this obscure problem and decide to go

to the kingdom to find out things for himself. When he reached

Mirnga which was the kingdom everybody had ta ed about, he met

the king's daughter in the well. By the time Yamta entered the

village he was carr-ring an animal he had killed. He dashed this

animal to the girl (princess The girl was fascinated but she

took the meat home.


The next day the same i.an (Yamta) appeared again to the girl

still at the same well and dashed her with another animal he

had killed this contin :n::d for several days until the girl

and the man became so acquainted and friendly. Yamta decided

to take the girl's hand in for marriage and the girl willingly

accepted him. The king was not however interested in giving

out his daughter to such an unnoble fellow a common hunter.

But the girl was mad about this man who could produce meat


They became married and settled together happily. As

time went by the hunter continued to exploit the girl to find

out exactly why ",er father's kingdom was unconquerable. Until

it was one night tnt the ever hidden secret entered the hnnds

of a hunter who would later assume the kingship of the kingdom.

The girl revealed that in front of her father's (king's) house

there is a heap of rubbish under which a horn filled with

magic was planted. The hunter then went out secretly in the

night, went to the King's house and dig out the horn. After

getting hold of the horn Yamta then began to gather followers.

He started recruiting men and training them to wage war against

the kingdom of Hirnga.

Yamta eventually conquered Mirnga and began to advance to-

wards Biu. He felt that lMirnga was too a small place to set-

tle in. He conquered Biu and moved Ito a place near Mandaragirua,

and settle there. When he was there he continued hunting.

One day Yamta asked his children to help thrend cotton for

him. He dried a roasted meat and hung it on the top of a roof

and asked his seven children to go for the bag one after the

other. All of then:: had a turn except small Mari. None of them

could reach the bi: until Kari had a turn. He brought down

the bag and took it to father. They ate the eaot and Mari was

sent to go and hung- the bag in its place again. As the after-

noon process wAs progressing Yamta was contempulnting on his....

I. I. 3AKI:A

youngest sons magical powers. He was fearing that Mari was

more encha-ted than him -nd decided trying him again.

Yamta filled n pot with stones and put it on fire and

called it a cooking mixture. He sent a child in turn to check

the fire and see whether the stones are cooked. He instructed

if they found the stones still uncooked they should put more

firewoods on the fire. Consequently there was a great \heap

of fire in the fire place that it became very hard to go even

within several f#ct of the radius. All the children had a i-

except Mari. Now it was Mari's turn since all the siX child-

ren had always brought the same comment that the stones were as

hard as if they were not put into thepot on the fire. They

would only add that the stones were tremendously hot. i'dhen

Mari reached the fire he did not even want to see what had

happened to the stones in the pot but went straight to push out

all the fire under the pot. He put out all the fire with water

except a small piece, He then brought some small grass and

light the fire under thepot. In just a fraction of a second

the pot was boiled and all the stones in the pot were cooked

beyond the normal point of cooking. He took out a stone and

started chewing it he was rushing to his father andhe was

calling out fat :er, father - -. He reached his father and

his brothers with the cooked stone and all of them were rendered

amazed. The father was disappointed and he began to wonder.

Now Yamta has believed that his smallest child was more en-

chanted and possessed more magical powers than him. lie had

to get rid of him.

Mari was not safe in the hands of his father because the

father had planned to have him assassinated. The end of the

day long threading had come off in the evening, l,.ari and his

brothers had gone to their respective rooms to relax and later

the night sleep. W:'hen lari was asleep his wicked-father bloc-

ked the entrance into I',ari's rooms. He blocked the door so ...


heavily that it was very impossible to come out of the room.

He simply set fire on to Marib room and went back into his

sleeping room thinking that Mari would be burnt inside the


Mari with his magical powers managed to escape from the

ball fire by the roof. He went straight to Virahel. At

Virahel the next morning he saw people going to Mandaragirak

to attend a funeral. He asked them where they were going and

they told him they were going to Mandaragiran to attend Mari's

funeral. He asked then to deliver a message to Yamta, Mari's

father that Mari whom they were going for his funeral was

seated in Virahel and that if Yamta is not a coward let him

bring either milk or tikisa, Mari will provide the other so

that they should prepare the milk and drink it together. The

villagers reached Mandaragirajt but refused to deliver the

message after the funeral greeting, cause they were fearing


Several of such villagers were sent time after time but

nornof them possessed the vigour to tell the king-Yamta the

message. Lastly there came a group of people from a Pertain

village. They came past IMari and he noticed thew. He called

them and asked where they were going. They told him they

were going=toThey- told-him--they--we _g.an to Mandaragirai

for Mari's funeral. MLari then told them that he was the Mari

they were going for his funeral but asked them to deliver a

messar:e to Yamta that:

that Mari was sitted at Virahel and that He (Yamta)

should either bring some milk or titisa, he Mari would provide

which he (Yamta) cannot afford. The villagers then departed

and they reached LIandaragirafj. On reaching MandaragiradL they

greater all the sorrowful people they were fast going out of

Yamtaredala's house when one of them immediately reminded them

about the message which Mari asked them to deliver the King.

M. .1 AIC'IA

They said, your highness, when we were coming we met someone

who called himself 1.ari, he asked us to tell you that you

should tuke either milk or tikira any that you can afford,

he will provide that which you cannot afford. They continued,

that he said he (Yamta) should meet him (Masri) at Virahel if

Yamta is brave enough.

Yamta on hearing this became so annoyed that he woed the

villagers and prayed that let the villagers go like, hurricane.

The villagers then left, but from that time the villagers were

known as Shamber Peorle because of Yamta's woe on them.

Shambar in Bara means wind or hooligamism. So the Shambar

people are first hooligans.

Yanta, having failed to get rid of Mari wondered what to

do. Mari became aware of the message he had sent his father

and continued to wait for him at Virahel and he was eventually

known as Mari Virahel. After all wicked plans had failed

Yamta decided one day to show up the entrance (do-or) of his

room which had ever remained invisible. He put on his royal

clothes and sat in the middle of his room and began to

meditate. In the course of the meditation he began to sink

into the ground with the stool he was sitting on.

Yamta's wife was grinding in the small room and she sent

her daughter to call Yamta for discussion. She went but

saw her father sinking into the ground. She then went back

and told her mother-of what she had seen. The mother mocked

at her and told her that she had never seen someone sinking

into the ground. .he sent her (daughter) back to go and call

her 4- father again. The girl after seeing her father came

back with the same news but the mother refused to *e&a4 believe

whab& what the girl said.


She was sent several times until in the last round. The

girl came back almost in tears and told. mother that father

was almost sink into the ground. The mother then rushed to

see and approve whether her daughter was sellingg lies pr

serious about what she had said. On reaching Yamta's room

she (wife) found only the last visible hairs on his

(Yamtats) head. She quickly ran for a knife and cut the

hairs. The hairs are still in the custody of the royal

families. The spot where Yamta disappeared became his own

grave yard. That is how Yamtaradala disappeared from the

land surface and buried himself below the ground. The end

of Yamta.

The interview ended by 10.40.


11 The Changing pattern of DressingFrom Ancient to Pre-
sent Day.

Interview 7.30. p.m.

Infront of Malawi Ibrahim's Room. No one was around.
Informant Ibrahim 1,algwi

The informant stated that long ago both sexes were in-.

volved in plaiting their hairs. The most common plaiting

which men like, was a type of shaving which was in rows.

Hairs are left inbetween the rows and plaited. Sometimes

the hairs are left unplaited. When the hairs are plaited

they are dyed in red-earth called Msha. By the coming of

the whitemen the dying in Msha was dropped.

An example to illustrate the ways in which the ancient

people shave and plait and then dye the plaited hairs in red-

earth called 1isha.

The ancient types of clothes used in those days are

"Nashi", "ambuka" -uraya" and "gaen". Today only the gaen

is still in use. The Nashi was a kind of gown but made of

local cotton and used mostly by respectable clan heads or

village heads. The ambuka a small shirt was dropped and

have been replaced by a jampa. All the aforementioned types

of clothing were used only by men.

Women used "gurjambi", and "Dambatir". Dambatir was a

king of clothing used by women. The cloth had strips on it

normally black ones.


It is worne only by females.

!,en also wore 'bengteng' instead of shorts or trousers.

Boys at the ages of 12 or above also wore the bengteng.

When there was ceremony the youngmen tie blankets. Small

kids below ten years used to go naked. They used to share

their father's or mother's blankets at night but had no clothes

of their own. The material from which all the clothing were

made is called Kuntu. This is a wrong material consisting

of many turns. The material is vary but is wound in round

form like a vespa tyre. It is then sewn in the form required.

a Kiuntu

The informa-it said that "fikofa" was worne by those who

were newly married so that when they are playing with their

husbands at night the husbands would be stimulated (heated)


Older women wore "Shuwa" in their necks. Different

varieties of ear rings were worne in the cars. Around the

foot some wide nnd thicker rings are ov.'orne around the lept

hand wrist-rings ';re worn also. The types v.'ornc b- twins

were different. Those worne b:y the twins 're ,o:no bines single

twisted rinjs, others 're double one twisted the other re-
mains untwisted.


Some very old women used to make holes in their upper

lips. A slender corn-stalks were inserted into the holes.

During funerals, gunclan (a very long but narrow drum)

used to be played. Ding fin instrument made from corn-stalk

also used to be played.


As new varieties continued to be invented also styles

and qualities were subject to changes. Women began to wear

small shirts and tie wrapper. As time continued to change

the pattern of shirt (blouse) they wore -Ilso changed. The

blouse and using of wrapper were replaced by using a long

below-knee type of shirt.

For men too the change was evident. The use of beng-

teng was replaced by a better quality materials. Shortsand

trousers were introduced4. The use of under wear were also

introduced. Contrary to the very few types of clothing used

in the ancient days today just very many different kinds of

clothing are in use: the style of shirting has changed tremen-

dously. In the old days no caps were used today different

kinds are in use e.g. the Dipcharima and Jakson-five.

Shoes were not ':4n in those days. Only a slipper type

of foot-wearing coll.d 'warrango' were used. Today "we have

at least three different types of foot wearing. Warranga can

still be seen with very few villagers. It does not cover the

whole foot but two or three s ips pass across the foot. Now

sandals have taken the lace of warranga. But before the

introduction of shoes that cover the whole foot a type of rub-

be.r shoes normally black called"Kundira" were used. Today all

those types of shoes are extinct. There was no transition in

the use of warrango for women and modern shoes as there was

the use of Kundira for men.


There was only a big rjimp from the. use of warranga to the use

of modern. Women too have many varieties of shoes. Leather

anf rubber shoes were common.

Today men do not plait their hairs, but either simply

shave it completely or barb it. Contrary to those of the old-

en days when men plait and use msha in their hairs the use of

masha has completely stopped. 1fany more varieties of hair plai-

ting had been introduced. Some are copy-rights of other tribe'

hair style like the Yoruba hair style. The most common hair

style of the past was the Takaba which is now extinct also.

a Takaba hair style

Another ancient hair style is the Zan, Hauwa. It is not com-

pletely extinct because of few of the women in the villages

still have this hair style. In those days the plaited hair

used to be dyed in msha but today the use of msha has been stop-

ped. Pomale is used instead of the msha. Today contrary to the

ancient hair styles girls prefer barbing especially to plaiting

their hairs. The use of headtie is slowly disappearing also.

Modern necklaces (e.g. chains) have replaced the show.

W7ulu (a kind of string worn on the neck) was sometimes used

bu7ttoday only very few of them can be traced. Today shinny rings

are worn by both sexes. In the olden days only one kind of

ring wvas in use. The use of wire rings on the foot has stopped.

The use of Jikda (a tyne of waist chain) has also completely

stopped. On the whole very many varieties of clothing and

other things worn hns increased iif number, styles and forms and

have replaced the ."n.ient ones.




An ancient dressing and present day dressing compare. A, is
an ancient man wearing bengteng around the waist. B, is a
modern man wearing a cap and a kaftan, (watch) on his hand
and also in modern shoes contrasted with the Warrangei of the
ancient man.

The modern man also has trousers whereas the ancient man

has only bengteng. WVithout the bengteng it means the ancient

man is completely nk:ed.

Interview ended by 8.30.

Clothes of Ancient Days and Today

Old days



A mbuka







1' .1. "),AK.7'A1


Informant Badawi ITgyesdu

In his house intiant of his room in his parlour.

3ulemam Ilueturpha was around. He is a student of Bornu

Teachers' College.

Time interview started 9.30. in the morning.

Bodavwi alleged that froyr the coming of the whiteoen to

the present day could amount to about 50 years. He said the

emir who was on 4Vee, the throne then was Mai All Gurgur. The

informant said that he could remember that they carried their

belongings on horse's back and rode horses after them. They

reached Biu and asked the en-ir of Biu whether they could be

allowed to settle at Biu. .Iai Ali Dogo who was then on the

throne as the emir was happy with their coming ::ut could not

allow them stay at Biu because of the D.O.s(District Officers)

advice to the emir. The D.O. thought that the presence of the

whitemen should they be allowed to stay might not be conclusive

to him because they might veto him. He the D.O. then told the

emir, Mai Ali Dogo that the best place for them should be Gar-

kida which was then part of Bornu Province.

The whitemen then moved to Garkida and Lassa in 3ardauna

province. The informant complained that he cannot remer:ber the

names of the missionaries who settled at Garkida. He said all

those missionaries that settled at ,I\aramri, he could remember

their names because he had seen them in persons.

The informant added that the first missionary to settle at

Marama was Heckman. But he alleged that Viallam Amses who was

a builder found his way to Iarama before Heckman. He however,

did not stay at ,Marama for a missionary work. The next missionary

that settled at Marama then second to Heckman was Mr. Bittinger.

The missionary settlement at aorama started roughly about 40

years back. The third missionary on the .lot of those who set-

tled at Marama is Ruth Uts.

li.1 3JCAE_',

She it now retired at 'nrama. The fourth missionary- to set-

tle at Marama besides Utz, was Shisler. After Shisler came

I'r. Keeney. Nnd last on the least but not the least was Dr.

Fough. Today there is no missionary settled at Vsr'm'n be-

sides a nursing sister and retired Miss Utz.

During the establishment of missionary station at Mlara-

mea it was first thought that the station should be built at

Kwaya Bura. Sub-stations were opened at Ng.a, uma, Bilatum

and Bila.

9 Religion

The informant (Badaw;i) stated that Religion came to the

area during the reign of Ali Dogo.about 70 years ago. He

alleged that christianity cane earlier (about 10 years earlier)

than Islam. He however added that religion (christianity)

reached Garkida much earlier than else where in B land. So

much of the christian religion came along with the missionaries

around 50 years ago.

Islam however, found its way to the Biraland during the

reign of Ali Gurgur about 60 years ago. Islam was first che-

rished by the Pabirs at Liu. The Pabirs also refurged to

believe in the rights of the christian religion. The two

religions then started expanding. The christian religion

spread easily especially in the areas where there were mis-

sionary activities. The missionaries therefore helped greatly

in fostering the rights and spread of christianity.

Islam however took a different form. It followed a

completely different source. In the early days of the reli-

gion, it was a pride to become a muslim because finding job

in the Native authorities were no problems if one was a mus-

lim. So the Islamic religion followed almost the routes

where there was native authority activities. iTow we have

seen two channels by which the religions had spread. Chris-

tianity by ways of the missionary activities and Islam by


ways of Native Authority establishment. As the authority

in the Native aeP s4p authority was in the hands of the

Pabirs and as they were among the first people to cherish

the Islamic religion they deciv-ed an:,, person not belong-

ing to Islam impure and filthy. Therefore they refused

giving offices to the christians and Pagans because they

(Pabirs) called them ARIA. The christians were however,

very understanding and they; kept following gently so that

no Religious crisis could happen.

So long so good there was never a religious crisis

although the LMuslims called the christians Arna. The Chris-

tians did not worry because they were called ATrn. This

was because of the oppression they have suffered for a very

long time so they were used to the characters of the Pabirs.

In some places however there were sporadic disagreements but

no complete crisis.

11. The quality and variety of dress worn in the bygone days

have changed very much from what is worn today. Today all

clothing are dade from a materials referred to as yards but

those of olden days we had a material called Jintu from which

the yards (gabaka) are obtained.

In the olden day, :::en -ind women were engaged in spinning

cotton. Two types of thread v'ere made. The very thi. types,

were used in wearing fues shirts. The thicker threads were

used in wearing any com::.on material made out of cotton. All

materials (clothes) ,,ere imi:de from cotton alone. The pro-

cess of threading;, v.'evi:, and spinning were all very slow.

Dying was also common. The already made clothes were sometimes

dyed, other times the thread were dyed before weaving starts.

Contrary to the different varieties of clothing we have

today those of the bygone days were only very few.

1.I. C3ACIA 73

Not every worn clothes on the bddy, only the elders could

afford shirts or w-rapper. MIen used be nreng\, which could

cover the private part and leave the rest of body revealed.

V7omen used to tie something they called patch-noruilly girls

worn this dress around their waist. The, kids and almost all

below the age of 13 wore nothing. They went naked even in

the cold but at night shared their fathers or others blan-


There were two types of clothing women commonly used.

They are the Jabta which has white and black strips. Jambi

another type of wrapper which was completely black was also

used. The jabta is completely extinct but the jambi could

be found one here -ind another in that villa-:e. Young men

used ogly gotan made out of the gabaka and used both at night

and in the day time. It used to be tied in the neck in the

day and used as a blanket at night.

Women used to plAit their hairs in about five different

styles. Zakwantami was one of the most common hair style

people liked. Zame, another hair style was practiced. Men

also plaited their hairs. Men who did not like hair plaiting

shaved their hairs completely. There was no art of Barbing.

After plaiting of hair ;sore redearth called msha use, used

to be applied. There -:w: no tying of the head with headties.

Men did not also use caps but some used hturts made from


Necklaces werc not used by men but women used two types.

One type is called ashur ..hich was made from hairs of horses

tail. The other type is called Yidolum and was made of steel

or bronze. On the wrist were also worn some bronze wares.

The wristwires were oC :'-ny varied shapes. Some of the wrist-

wares were worn for specific believes. Others were worn only

for gaiety. Those worn for special believe were the twin


T"I A. d

These were of two types, one a single and the other double

welded together.

a b

/ 13

a&b, are twin rings ;:orn only by twins in the old

On the fingers bronze ring- were also worn. Some of

the rings were twisted '. t the others were plain. The plain

ones could be made to shine bright by rubbing with brasso

(a ppead kind of stone). There was a kind of lace worn on

the foot by the ancient people. Gonaruwa was one of the

laces worn on the foot and was made of bronze too. The

Gonaruwa was worn only by women especially very old ones.

Some women made holes in their lips and insert Piso. Some

women also made holes in thei nose and put Banjuwi into -i

Some few women may be seen still using t-e banjuwi today is

places lie Tanga, Aga Burn and ,Lerams. The ancient people

knew nothing about catches (wrist) so they did not put on

watches Today people (both sexes) 1pa put on watches.

Awalewale has replaced the wristwares used byr the ancient

women. Other wrist --re- i:3ve came out and gone out of use.

whose names cannot be remebfoered.

As the Kamins are identified to with the types of their

traditional masks. The Bura people were also identified with

their traditional masks. There were two places where the

masks were out. ,'Jomen opnrt from the masks on the face

perform stomach cutting. The stomachs were deccrated by put-

ting down masks on them,.

1 I SAK:17A

"Kirshimbur" cutting is done below the abdomen and

does not come above it. The other cutting is also above

the abdomen.

The face traditional marks were characteristically of

three kinds. However, none of the three kinds of mark be-

longed to a particular clan. It was only once which to

choose the mark of his or her liking if it was not done

during childhood. If it was done during childhbod when

the person was not able to speak then it became the style

which suited the mother most.

The Kanuri style called Nwa nwa was common. Datigomi,

Nupe style was also very coi:-on. "Bwslang" style was not

so common as the ot'er two mentioned above, ho.:;ever, still

few people usually men con be seen today possessing it.


Datigoni style

NWva TIo style

Bwalang style

Today only the IwaNv.ITvw and Datigoni can be found only

among the villagers. Traditional marks are almost absent

today compared to thoco fo-.d in the old days.

E .1 ~3AIV!A

The coming of the whitemen, religion and the ability to im-

port various of kinds of styles most of the traditional acti-

vities were subject to variation. Some have completely gone

out of the Buraland, others on the other hand are establishing

themselves. Today many kinds of European styles have been

imported into the Buraland. Women had started using even

artificial hair (wig). The pattern of dress hove changed and

are still subject to changes. The lon1 gowns worn in those

days and the wrapper used b people of the past are slowly

slipping away. The mini skirts (usually worn by students-

girls) the maxi, the gowns are becoming predominant.

Use of bell-bottomed trousers, the James-Brown style and

the different kirnd of shirts worn by our children today are

slowly replacing the Danchiki used about 10 years ago and

still being used by children from poor families. Eveh in

the market place very appreciable number of farmers besides

teachers and office workers can be seen tying watches on their

wrist. Only women who are in Padda' are responding slowly

towards the swinging changes going on today. The women still

use long dress as their religion requested. The moslems (typi-

cal) still shave their heads because the principles of Islam

forbids having much hair on the head.

Today almost everybody goes in shoes whether one is rich

or not, there are shoes which can well suit all categories

of people. Those who are poor can still have shoes to wear.

Using cop is also dropping out slowly from 'the community.

Dressing todIny hs completely changed from what it was

some seventy years ago. Today on special eves e.g. Christmas

day Sallah and the Independence day one finds that everybody

is almost gorgeously dressed. The native dress arc almost

completely '-:tinct exceDt with very old wolen. as the Bura-

land continues to open to the outside world more and more of

the foreign styles of dress and material will continue to flow

in and the -,attern of dress will continue to be subject to
changes. 10.00 a.n. intorvieou orlcd.



Informant Ladan Merama.

In his bedroom. Gule Mlustaphafa was around. Inter-
view started by 10.30. Ladants wife was outside but
she was coming in occasionally.

When the first District Head of Sakwa Galdima Vuliwa

Thlema Bata was reigning at Sakwa the first bunch of mis-

sionaries came to Biu Thlema Bats however did not stay long

at Sakwa but moved to Birnt From Birn he was moved to Biu

by the then District Officer in Biu Mr. EgaJ-.

The bunch of missionaries reached Biu on horse back.

They were altogether four in the group and they asked Gal-

dima VTuliwa- to assist them find a suitable to settle after

getting permission from the emir. The emir was very happy

with the missionaries coming and aksed them to find a place

of their choice. The missionaries coming could date back to

50 years ago Mr. Ladan alleged. It was the emir who instruc-

ted Galdima Wuliwa to assist the missionaries find a place

of settlement. The District Officer (D.O.) however was not

happy at all with their coming and so was not happy also about

their settlement near Biu and much less with their settlement

at Biu. iHe mounted on advicing the emir that he should not

allow the missionaries to stay until they obtain permission

from Maiduguri. The missionaries were not however discouraged

they proceeded to Iaiduguri and obtained a permission to set-

tle. Having co.c banc from laiduguri. The missionaries were

eager to start bnildi" .-. n settlement. T>e D.O. was disap-

pointed in that the missionaries were granted the right to

settle many places of their choice. Hle became furious though

about the whole situation and refused the right of the mis-

sionaries to settle at Biu.

The missiorvirics *in-. Gal.lima "uliwa then walked down

southerly until they reached a. rnlce calll e0 rarm( about 10

miles awvay fro'. iu.

S.1. SAK.'A 78

They found the place very suitable for a settlement because

the. place is sita ted on 3 plateau aid bounded by deep val-

leys on almost all .'.es. They requested Ladan Merama's

pleasure to assist them set up some buildings and he willing-

ly accepted the request. The next morning the four missionaries

and Galdija Tuliwi, went back to Biu to give a report of their

finding. They went to the emir and told him about 'erama and

he allowed them go on with progress of setting up buildings.

'jhen they told t'.e D.O. he became displeased and asked them

to halt any move as trying to set up a settlement at Navama

because es I.'.erama was too close to Biu. All that the D.O.

was fearing was perhaps the challenge these whitemen might

throw at him. He was afraid that they might veto him and so

might make things tense for him. The D.O. asked them to find

another place rl'erablyr Garkida which is very, fcraway-, from

Biu. The ever patient missionary missionaries were not annoyed

with the obstruct affairs being put to them by the D.O. nut

willingly accepted the offer. Galdima 7luliwa and Ladan Lierame

accompanied them to Garkida. Ladan set on raising buildings

for them and soon they had a settlement at Garkida. Until now

the missionaries since reaching Biu had no place to settle.

After three years of settlement at Garkida which then

part of Bornu Province they came back to Biu and asked for

another place to settle. They came down to 1Earama and found

the place very fine for settlement. They set on clearing the

bushes. They nicknamed the place Umdlir Kuthli, They asked

the people around what the place was called and they said it

was called Dikir. Dikir is a tree which has s very bitter

bark and leaves. ''he whieen had known of this tree since

they were at Garkida because the villagers used the bitter

bark in healing stomach disorder.


They refused to call.the place Dikir because of its bitter-

ness. They wanted to call it Merama with the name of the

place the D.O. has refused them settling in. They started

calling this nov settlement Merama. The villagers could not

pronounce the word lilerama correctly but ]larama. That is how

Marama came into being.

Mr. Heckman was the first missionary to settle at Marama.

Mr. Been came ofter 1-r. Heckman departure. Another missionary

came after Mr. Been had left for home. This missionary was

Mr. Labis. He built a school at Ngwa. The schools built by

the missionaries were very cheap indeed. It raised from six

pence at their early settlements to nearly 30 (N60.00) today.

The missionary continued to come one after the other. This

is all Mr. Ladan can remember about the missionaries.

9 R L I G I 0 N S

During the ti,'c when Kingdom of ,1barmi was alt its peak

religion Tbegan tc C'low southerly in to thie BuT3-l-nd. P.rIaps

it was the white:;men who conquered the kingdom of :barmi car-

ried along with then the christian religion.r As time went

on and as these whiter.en continued to advance gradually so

also was how the religion was advancing. Christianity there-

fore reached the D.r.land before Islam. Islam came much later

on, still from the N'Torhtern. After christianity found its

way into this area it continued to spread much with the coming

of the missionaries. It followed the routes of the missionaries

with more int eni ty.

The Pabirs cherished Islam earlier than the Buras. As the

missionaries were refused settlement at Biu, hardly did the

christian religion find a base in Biu, Even today only a very

few people inside Biu township are christian. Contrary, Biu

became a core of Islamic religion. Islam spread in all direc-

tion from *e here to other places in the land. The exact time

Islam established itself in this area ,,-:as when Galdima Vluliwa

was moved front Birni to Biu. Islam spread southwards until

it reached Sakv. area about 40C years ago. When Islam was just

touching the pagans of onkwa Thlerma Bate was the District Head

of Sakwa. Birni a village about 2Q miles south of Biu produced

substantial musliI;,,. It soon became known for its fanatic

Islamic follower, and 11.llms. As Ladan had ;:1ctioned above

that Islam touched the people around ,akv;a during the reign

of Thlema Bate some -ai allams had to travel from Birni to Sakwa

to open up the heods of the people and enlighten them on the

Islamic principles-. oon a mosque was built at '1akwa and the

,all.,;"n from Birni c'-.:..e to lead the new, convertees.

Although.,the Lords (those who worked in the offices)

had accepted the religion they never give up the practices

forbidden by the Islamic law. They continued to drink beer,

smote tobacco, attend haptus to mention only a few. Most

of those who cherished both the religious were not circumcised.

they aldorarely practiced the religion but merely called

themselves Muslims. q llam Samya come from Birni and mounted

on preaching the islic'.ic doctrine. He was so impressed with

the work because so Uany people were responding to the call

to accept God. To also believe in one and only one Allah and

say there was no God (haptu). One of the first people to res-

pond to the te;ich2g of Islams is a nan called L-adan. He is

still living and possesse in his capacity as t el: caller

of Sakwa, Mlosaue. He is the person that calls people to prayers.

He had unfortunately lost both eyes due to old age. After

accepting the Islamic doctrine Ladan went forward to have him-

self circumcised. He did not also get involved into taking

beer; eating pork, rat; eating dead animals whose cause of

death was not known. He began to learn to recite the *Quran.

He was doing it very wll that Sabya lates produced an Allo

forhim. He (Ladan) :was mocked and laughed at by the pagans.

Host especially :.n he was reading the Cu-r:r.n they thought

he was a big fool to sing a song he never knew what words

meant. Bi'.t as ti..e '.ent on !ore and more' of Ladans type became

common so the Islamic faith began to be firmly established.

At Biu h'i li ur gur gave the islamic ollae::e full co-

operation. InlikI e .Li Ourgur's predecessors :who were not

interested in religion Ali Gurgur himself sho',wed a great love.

Islam then being C_'ree from all tortures was prospering. It

prospered well untill t'c expansion of missio',ry activities

hampered the sproa:d of Islamic religion a little. However

there was no acitc conflict between the christian and Islamic


A. I I 7.-'A 82

religions although there were few sporadic disagreements be-

tween the top religion mallems. Because missionary influence

people thought thir-t anything in the christian way was good

and. ways of other religions were bad. Because the missionary

activities were piloted by whitemen both fear and the organi-

zed ways of the European life made the people to believe so

much in the faith of christianity.

Some of the reasons which made the spread of christia-

nity so easily in some places was the availability of their

dispensaries. They treated the people (pagans) freely and

asked them to come next time they fall sick. They were im-

pressed by the ways the missionaries treated thci2 so luring

them into accepting the christian faith became no problem..

Among the early christians who accepted the faith are

Mallam Hamman .'chdbwala, liallam Hamman Ilbaya, Likta Madu,

Likte Sikimta A4 and a core of others the informant cannot

remember. These early cherishers were mobilized into the

schools established by the missionaries. These people later

helped in preaching the christian faith. The e'rl-: christian

schools were ver:- chop only 6d was the school fees. It later

became 2/6. per person.

So fr t:er -:.;O "o conflict bet';een the two religions

except light dia:grce::1cnts. Quite dift'erent forces helped

spread the two religions. The spread of Islam was geared by

the Iative authority forces. Christianity was geared by the

missionary Cor'cso I1, o the introduction of the nativee autho-

rity schools and- the missionary schools.helped in goring the

spread of both religions. Later it -be see-a become a pride

to be identified with either of the religions since most peo-

ple belonged to t'-o religions. People hated being called

Pagans (A.211T-) by thoc '..:ho belonged to the religion :.. Others

simply proclaim tht t they were either christians or muslims

so that they should. not be called PFlg.'ns.

These type of people never practiced any of the five pillars

of Islam neither -.ent to church or reed the Bible. They

drink beer and e'ver practiced any of the religious principles.

As civilization hit most of the people the,; tend '.ay from

the religions. Thec so-called Alhajis enjoyed being called

Alhajis but never turn their attentions towards their religions.

The Pastors understand and som,. are still understanding the

meaning of groo-ve they are being adicted to beer and smoking.

The only common i:uslims and christians are forgetting whether

the mosques/churches should be visited daily or monthly. Most

learned people do not seem to be responding well to the reli-

gions. On the whole, the informant alleged that too :.,any peo-

ple are tending a-:.ay from religion and going back to paganism.

1..I SAK'JA 64


11 The people who lived long before one our forefathers

engaged in the scme activities with women. They did not 1

leave the hair plaiting to women alone but also plaited theirs.

They had also used msha (red earth) as the women did and shave

nows between the plaited rows. They had also used Kwatau

(made out of steel) to tie up the plaited hairs. Women did

and applied mshs the ways the men did so. Takaba (hair style)

was the commonest style. Girls preferred their own hair style

called Bari-Bari (Bare-Bare or Kanuri hair style).

Traditional marks were also essential during the olden

days in identifying w'.,hat type of person one was. The Bura

people cut the faces to put ow marks. There were three dif-

ferent styles of the marking. One which seems to diverge from

both the corners of the mouth are called Datigoni- other peo-

ple called it lya Bdukum. Those must linearly, vertically

downwards on the cheeks called Nwa Nwa was also called by others

NMya Ncha. The last style not mentioned is the Bwalang style

which runs down from the forehead to the nostrils. For dia-

grams see pages 102 and 103.

Mya in Bura is mouth MI'ye could also mean Lr e.g.

Kum in Burs is meat by the riverside.

Bda in Bura is chew In Bura we say: Ilya zirku.

Ncha in Bura is eye Zirku River.

Although the necklntces common today were not found in the

olden days still ouir fore-fore fathers used necklaces. Shuwa

(made from 666- horse's tail hairs) was tied in the neck to

make them appear gorgeous. The tips of the shuwa shuwa were

leathered in such av:ay th?.t it was not possible for the two

ends to go ap".t give way.

H.I. 3AK..A


chuw:s. (necklace).

The shuwa is black but sometimes it -'= is white. L.ostly it

was worn by elderly women.

Some other necklaces made of bronze were also worn.

"'rist laces of different varieties were worn. The loces worn

by twins alone "h--ve been mentioned in eaCrly part of this book.

There was soir.ething called gayagaya which was worn on the head.

Shaving of the head completely was a religiously assisted

concept. The first to start shaving completely was a man cal-

led Bihiya Diyama. The first person however to start shaving
particularly leaving a portion of hair on the centre- .: Jikwar

was Hyelma Buba. The second person to have a complete shaving
-.j Ladan Mera- the informant.

Stomach decoration was common almost everywhere south of

Biu. Women decorated theit stomach by cutting marks on them

for gaiety and partly for brevity. A woman was distinguishable

from her own society she had her stomach cut. There were two

styles of stomach cutting. One below the abdomen and the other

above it. The or- below, the abdomen is called Uishimuyi and

the above is called a':wlng.

\ //" -

a navel.

Vishimuyi mark.

. .1. JDAK,' 86

Vi in Bura means place. Shimuui in Bura means tears.

Vishimuui also means a type of sickness caused by too much

sugar in the blood system.

bf D2awlang: mark.


There were two types of babanriga (gown) one called

Kwari and the other called amakdi. They were dyed in dyes so

that the white colour should turn black. These types of shirts

were worn only by elders who were heads or richmen. Liru

which is a blanket had some leathers tied on to them in such

a way that when the user ties it he could use the strips of

leather to tie them up. Bengteng (see page 93 diagram a) was

mostly used by poormen and children above twelve. The coming

of the whitemen however made the pattern of clothing change.

This is because they brought machines which could make materials

faster than the local looms. The looms could produce only a

single type of material but the whitemen's machine apart from

its fastness could produce many varieties of materials. The

gabaka ;w.as eventually replaced with- yards.

1Tomen never ued,' :;ane wares with men. Their; used different

materials one of which was called Jambi. 7o:::en carried their

children when going out in Pizhi. Pizhi is a tanned leather

sewed with strips which could hcdU a baby tightly to the mother.

It was sometimes ...ccorated with many hanging strips. The baby

had an advantage when carried in the Pizhi in that it was al-

ways warm. '"hen there was rain the child would be also free

from it. The Pizhi was sometimes dyed in the red earth called

msha. Today the Pizhi is totally extinct but in few houses

, .I. SAK7!A

it could still be found hanging on the walls. The Pizhi was

sometimes decorated with bottons and cowries.

*;hen there was an occasion like installing a Dur head

people (men) carry their bows and arrow cases after having

dressed excellently. They would put one arrow in the bow

and beginning to jump up and down. Most of them would tie

their waist with strings or leather. The bows (lali) were

decorated with leather of varying clours. It would be de-

corated well th-t it would be much adored. The arrow case

(kwaja) would be decorated also beautifully with leather.

a rrows.


a = Bow (Lali)

b = rrow case (Kwaja)

c = --rrow case head.



,* -





~ ~. 2\)

I -

I~. -

'7 i




11 -









1 I i


-. Ii


- ~ PV~K~ Cc.(~Q..( 1\t'I/R *j 11 'J

~ ~ ~ L-~ & ~4

M .I. 3AKJA 88

4th August, 73.

Refer to your comments on page 56 more about the

Relationships between MlandaraigiraiLnd old 3;akwa


The former informant 'added thnt the relationship between

Mandaragiraiiand old Sakwa began soon after Mari Virahyel at

Llandara Giran heard of the famous Kigama Sarau then at Dangioa.

Kigama Sarau was widely known to all warriors south of ianda-

ragiran for his skills in wars. Virahyel too was not left

out amongst these who heard of Kigana Sarau's skill. He

then decided to send delegates down old Sakwa, to contact this

famous warrior. :c wanted to have KigaASarou to sign a treaty

with him that they would never fight one another at wars. The

delegates reached old Sakwa and delivered the message to Kiga

Sarau. The message is that uhe he iari Virahycl who was then

a partial emir of Biu did not know very mcuh about the southern

part of Biu especially south of Sakwa. Therefore he wanted

Kigama Sarau to help him exploit the south. Thus by signing a

treaty that whenever there is any war pr clashes they should
not fight one another. Kigama Sarau, because of the feme he

gained from the -f number of slaves he gathered or return with

at wars Virahye1 envied him thus led him into wanting to sign

the treaty. He also promised Sarau that he would never fight

him nor do any harm to him,. He then promised him (Sarau) that

all the land south of Sakwa would be under his (Sarau's) control.

To crown the treaty signed, Virahycl appointed iarau the

Katsale of Sakwa an-l its juridication. Anyone who is Katsale

is called Kigama. That is how Sarau came to be known as

Kigama S arau.

V .I AP1K-*


Interview took place in Ibrahim Ialgwi's room.
He was the InL'orn-int. Time 7.00. Shatu

Ylkubou w:-s -round.

The I, major Ceremonies:

(1) Annual "BTth" = (Dance) VWaksha 1.

(2) Kukulur (Tilling) .bal (Wing) Bsibsi.

(3) Kukul Baktap.

KuIkul Baktap

(Tilling a field for a mother inlaw)

When there is Kukul (tilling) for a mother inlaw what

is done at the preliminary stiges before the actual Kukul

Baktap is the tilling around the inlows field. The tilling

around the farm is not a grand one but a light one. Only

a few selected ones are asked to do the tilling. In this

tilling cooked food porridge and mbal (wine) are cooked and

sent to the farm.l Those who carry all the food to the farm

to those doing the farming are given half of a goat killed.

The other half of the go;:t is given to those tilling.

After sometimes they would come back to the field and

how it for the second tine. The next grand tilling is the

Kukul Baktsp.


Kukul Baktap is a grand festival in which there is a

big gathering, it is the actual tilling o" :t vaIst field for

the mother-inlaw-. .s all the preliminaries are over, a spe-

cial day will be appointed for the Festival. Before the day

runs in the bridegroom will take the responsibility of telling

all villagers D(out the festival. Ibal (wine) would be pre-

pared on a very l',rec scale. All types of food will be pre-

pared including Kunu (porridge). ,Macny rams and goats will be

slaughtered also for the festival.

,I.1 5AK:IJA 90

Girls who are outstandingly distinguished as excellent pre-

parers of dishes would be invited to do the cooking. All

local bands would be invited to entertain the workers. Among

those to be invited nrre those who play drum well, Tsin-T dz

players, Gunaar, players and Aligater players.

On the day of the festival everything would be set and

all the big crowd would move to the farm. Several pots of

beer will be provided at the farm. The same thing would hap-

pen to porridges to th.se who cannot take beer. The rest of

the food would be kept at home until after the work the peo-

ple would then allow to sit, eat and relax and rejoice too.

On the field girls will stand behind their boyfriends

and clap. The normal thing is that when ones girl friend is

behind him cheering and clapping for him he would tend to work

harder so that he would impress the girl friend and those

around. So the presence of ladies on the field is very essen-

tial. They would work for four hours without knowing that

they have worked for hours but only minutes. Sound from all

corners of the field. Some excellent services would be pro-

vided by acute ladies. In only several houses would a vast

field be turned into a farmland.

After the heavy days work the workers and all the people

on the field would converge to the house of the brides mother

(the mother inlaw). There, food would be served also. Beer

will be in abundance. Another heavy meal will therefore be

taken, After everyone had his /her stomach full then the

drummers would begin to bit. People will begin to dance.

Others would be watching those who cannot dance and normally

the shy ones. Those who are already intoxicated with the drinks

would behave oddly *: it is natural. The ?Saldakwi (Youth-

leader or secretary to the village) would bc around to ensure

peace. The dance woul(l then continue till dasy-brcak.


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