Islamic Zambo: Hausa anti-Shia Songs in Kano

  • Andrea Brigaglia


This paper translates and discusses the texts of three Sunni anti-Shia songs in Hausa, all produced by religious singers of Kano, Nigeria, from the mid-1990s onwards. Politically, these literary items have to be located in the competitive environment of Kano Islam, and culturally, in a long-standing poetic tradition where invective and satire (Hausa zambo; Ar. hijā’) naturally emerged as the counterpart to the genres of praise and eulogy (Hausa yabo; Ar. madīḥ). Read in chronological order, these three texts display a crescendo that reflects different stages in the development of popular Nigerian Sunni attitudes towards the local Shiite leader El Zakzaky and his movement: disillusionment; theological stereotyping; social stigma.


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eISSN: 0257-7062