I have been fascinated by Northern Nigeria for a very long time. I first caught this ‘fascination bug’ during my first year in Junior Secondary School. I chose Hausa as my second Nigerian Language elective and my teacher Mrs Ahmed was an absolute delight! The classes were fun and enlightening even though now that I think about it, I can barely remember all I learnt plus I still can’t hold a conversation in Hausa (I should have taken those classes more seriously) anyway back to the trip.
Prior to my flight to Kano, I had never been on a plane with so many men before, it was an about 80 to 20% split between men and women respectively with 95% of everyone either Muslim or Northern (I could tell from their outfits).
It was a 4 hour long trip to Kano as we had a stopover in Abuja. It wasn’t boring though because I had a book with me to keep me company for the first half and by the second half of the trip I had made a friend!
My friend’s name is Mallam Tukur he’s a native of Kano State and we had a delightful conversation. He is a very successful businessman in the furniture industry with plans to diversify into consumables in the near future. With 29 years’ experience building a career in the field and another one decade experience running his own business, you can imagine how deep his wealth of knowledge and wisdom was. I had so many questions and he was gracious enough to answer them (Maybe I should share with you some of the lessons I learnt from him in a later post, Yes?).
By the time I arrived in Kano at about 6:30pm, my excitement was heightened and I was determined to explore as much as I could.
As the every inquisitive and analytical person that I am, here are:
6 fun facts about Kano
Disclaimer: These points are observations made in Sabon Gari, a fraction of Kano within just 3 days and are mere opinions not proven facts.
1. Fences are really high
I was so startled by how high fences are in Kano, I had to ask my tour guide why. Apparently, they natives make their fences really high because they don’t want their wives to be seen by outsiders. They take this so personally that if a male person is caught looking into the compound of another man’s household, you would actually get into serious trouble. On a lighter note, this might actually be a good thing, as the likelihood of a ‘David and Nabal’s wife incident’ could potentially be greatly reduced.
2. Rate of development is slow
Before leaving for Kano, one of my colleagues mentioned in passing that kano is an ancient city that has remained relatively the same for decades. I have to agree with him after seeing the ancient savannah bank building still standing. I mean, if it were Lagos, that building would have been put to use by now.
3. The people of Kano love perfume
In Kano, I discovered where the phrase ‘Hausa perfume’ originated from! Every native I came by had a distinct smell. Little wonder why perfumes like Danduala sell so well in the north. I asked one of the natives about this and she said one of the reasons they’re so big on perfumes is that Hausa wives and women in general use local incense to ‘catch men’ when they’re single and keep their husbands attracted and interested in them (Hausa men usually have multiple wives so the competition is quite fierce). Oh, and they also have a habit of burning incense known as ‘Turaren Wuta’ in their houses. Appaz the concept of scented candles is not foreign to us Nigerians, we’ve always had our own version
4. The most accessible means of transportation in Kano is Keke Napep
Everywhere you turn, there’s a Keke Napep. In some parts of town, they even outnumber the private cars. Oh and worthy of note is that fact that their Okada and Keke-napep riders are just as ‘crazy’ as the ones in Lagos. I think we Nigerians need a driving revolution.
5. The majority of Kano indigenes are extremely traditional/religious
There are certain areas of Kano whereas a lady you dare not wear clothes like trousers out. I met a female youth corps member in the state who shared with me how during her first few days in Kano, she wore trousers and on her way to out, whilst walking on the streets, some radical men went as far as howling curses and throwing stones at her. You’ll observe in my pictures here that I’m very covered up (I don’t like wahala). Funny enough even with this ‘cover cover’ outfit I still was advised not to go into the Emir’s palace without wearing an overall.
6. The people of Kano have a sweet tooth
As gala hawking is to Lagos, so is sweet hawking to Kano. I’m talking about sweets like lollipops, candy etc. It was literally everywhere I turned on the roads. I’m not sure whether this is because there are so many children in Kano or the adults are yet to be sensitized on tooth decay and diabetes. One thing is for sure though; Kano will be a great market for sweet products.
I must say Kano is a pretty fantastic city. I especially love how calm and peaceful the city is, this Lagos wahala is too much abeg.
I also think it’s interesting how that even with the push of globalization, the indigenes haven’t ‘watered down’ the uniqueness of their culture and beliefs. I believe this can be attributed to the fact that the people not like to ‘mix’ with people from different cultures and varying beliefs. A typical Kano indigene will not opt to live in the west, east or southern parts of Nigeria. They’re extremely content with their home state/region.
Work took me to Kano so sadly I didn’t have the luxury of time to spend exploring. However, on the day of my return, I was able to squeeze out 3 hours of explorer time to visit a few historical sites and engage with the people.
If you’re ever in Kano, here are the top 3 places I recommend you visit:
1. The Museum (opposite the Emirs palace)
This was the palace of Emir Bayero (the previous and longest ruling Emir in the history fo Kano). It’s an ancient building made of mud blocks with some many pieces of history such as the canon gun used by the Colonial masters to break into Kano, One of the 15 Kano city gates and so many others. It’s full of history and knowledge I must say, one thing I found pretty interesting here was a picture of the founder of Boko Haram. I never knew the menace didn’t start recently. Apparently, it’s a very old movement that just reared its ugly head again. Interesting stuff.
2. Dala Hills
From here you get to look down into the city of Kano and it’s a really lovely view.
3. Kurmi Market
According to the natives, this market is over 500 years old. Here they sell leather works, pottery, jewellery and really lovely artefacts. I didn’t get to explore this market as much as I would have loved to, so I’m definitely going back!
I almost missed my flight back to Lagos thanks to my hopping around and on top of that, I realized upon check-in that I forgot my Laptop in the driver’s car sigh. I had to do a lot of ‘James bond’ movements! I just thank God Kano doesn’t have heavy traffic like Lagos. I got home safe and energized.
2018 is just around the corner dancing HAPPY NEW YEAR in advance!! When I look back on the year 2017 all I can say is ‘God is God ALL BY HIMSELF!’ he has been so good to me.
I’m super excited about 2018; I’m definitely going to do a lot more travelling and exploring. This resolve is inspired by my favourite travel bloggers my Aunty Kemi Onabanjo and Feyi Koya. Plus the fact that my heavenly father owns the whole world, my bible says, “The earth is the lords and it’s fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” Psalm 24:1, so why should I stay in one corner of it? As a legitimate child, I should explore my fathers ‘compound’.
P.s Please pardon my blurry pictures! iPhone 8 gifts are very welcome this new year. Thanks!