Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Shuwa

I didn't suss until recently that Nigeria has an indigenous ethnic Arab population - the Shuwa who are settled around Maidugiri. They speak the shuwa dialect of Arabic. When I've heard Nigerians talk about the Shuwa it is always in a positive light: how beautiful they are (light skin colour, high cheekbones etc), what a warm and gentle people they are etc. A little bit of online digging, and I discovered the Shuwa are also known as the Baggara, a cattle-herding nomadic tribe originally (five hundred or more years ago) from Libya. The Baggara are more populous in Darfur. Click here for more info.


the flying monkeys 10:16 pm  

I think we (icluding Britains premier, Tony Blair) may all be "foreigners".

The Fulani’s as well are known to have arrived in the Hausa states in the early 13th century. I wonder if they (the shuwa) are a subset of the Fulani’s.

However, at the risk of going off-point, me myself, by frame I am very tall and thin wiry, like a Fulani herdsman. In fact, I strongly believe my origins would be somewhere North of Africa or even Asia, despite the fact that I was brought up to identify myself as Yoruba - a term previously reserved for subjects of the Oyo empire. It even gets more bewildering when I say my parents are Christians and brought me up as such. But I have always wondered how one could both be Yoruba and Christian at the same time, totally conflicting ideologies! One can begin to see what may have led that gentle woman to have shouted "I am a married woman...I am a married woman..."

Sorry if I went off point.

kazey 8:33 am  

I taught the shuwa arabs where from Niger Rep? and most you find in Maiduguri migrated from there?


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