Hafsat Abdulwaheed

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Hafsat Abdulwaheed
Born (1952-05-05) May 5, 1952 (age 65)
Kofar Mata, Kano City, Nigeria
Occupation Author
Language Hausa
Nationality Nigerian
Education Shahuci Primary School
Alma mater Provincial Girls School

Hafsat Abdulwaheed (born 1952) is a Nigerian author who writes mainly in Hausa. She is a poet, and a women's rights activist. She was born in the Kofar Mata quarters of Kano City, northern Nigeria. She did her primary education in Kano, during which she started writing.[1] In the early 1970s she became the first female Hausa writer to have her novel published,[2] and in the 2000s she attempted to contest in the governorship election in the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara. She has written more than 30 books, only five of which have been published.[3]

Early life

Abdulwaheed was born Hafsat Abubakar Sa'id on May 5, 1952. She did her primary education at Shahuci Primary School in Kano and then proceeded to Provincial Girls School, which was later renamed Shekara Girls Secondary School, also in Kano.[3] On January 25, 1966, she married Muhammed Ahmed Abdulwaheed.[4] She has a number of children, the eldest of whom is Kadaria Ahmed, a journalist.[3]

Writing career

Hafsat Abdulwaheed started writing when she was in primary school, where she wrote folk tales, for which she received awards. She once received an award from the British Council when she was in primary four or five. In 1970 she entered one of her stories, So Aljannar Duniya ("Love is Paradise on Earth"), which she wrote when she was in primary five, in a literary competition organised by the Northern Nigerian Publishing Company (NNPC). The book was inspired by the experiences of her elder sister who at that time married a Libyan and the cultural differences began to generate friction in the marriage. She reviewed and added to it before it was submitted.

The book, which is her best known book, came second in the competition.[3] So Aljannar Duniya has been adjudged by analysts as the precursor to a genre of modern Hausa writing known as Littattafan Soyayya or "Love Books", or what is known as "Kano Market Literature". Cara Giaimo[2] quotes Abdallah Uba Adamu and Graham Furniss as saying, '...it was this book that "really set the world alight to [Hausa] love-story writing...".'

Hafsat Abdulwaheed has written more than 30 books, fiction and non-fiction. Of these, in addition to So Aljannar Duniya, Yardubu Mai Tambotsai ("'Yardubu the Possessed" - fiction), Nasiha ga Ma'aura (Admonition for the Married Couple - non-fiction), Namijin Maza Tauraron Annabawa (non-fiction on the life of Prophet Muhammad), as well as a book of poetry, her first in English, Ancient Dance, have been published.[3]


Abdulwaheed has been a member of a women's rights group in Nigeria called Baobab. When the country returned to democratic governance in 1999 after prolonged military rule, the group observed that there were no women in the cabinet of the north-western state of Zamfara, where Hafsat has been living with her husband for many years. At one time, she said, "the leadership of the group went to visit the governor and expressed their displeasure at this development. I didn't go with them because I wasn't given to keeping quiet when I felt something wasn't right.

"When they came back, they told me that the governor had said there was no woman in Zamfara educated enough to serve in his cabinet, and I thought that was an insult, because in my house alone my daughters were very educated.

"I then said, 'Well, we are not only going to demand for the position of a commissioner, we are going to take away his seat'. And I decided that I would contest the governor's seat in the next election".

Her dream was not to be, however, because her decision was greeted with an uproar. "You know in the North it is unusual for a woman to say she wants to do anything for the public good, much less assume leadership positions", she says. Following the condemnation of her proposed candidature by Muslim scholars, the party on whose platform she wanted to contest denied her its backing and, in the end, her father prevailed on her to jettison the idea, even though she had printed posters and other campaign paraphernalia.[3]


  1. ^ Adamu, Yusuf. "Interview with Hafsat Abdulwaheed". African Writer. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Giaimo, Cara. "How Nigerian Romance Novelists Sneak Feminism Into Their Plots". Atlas Obscura. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Muhammad, Muhammad Kabir (30 November 2016). "Mata 100: Yadda Hafsat Abdulwaheed ta kalubalanci gwamna". Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  4. ^ Yusuf, Adamu. "Interview with Hafsat Abdulwaheed". African Writer. African Writer. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
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