Meet One Of The Female Authors From Northern Nigeria

March 9, 2016

Balaraba Ramat Yakubu is one of the few indigenous authors whose works have been translated into another language and made into a movie.

She is also one of the pioneer writers of Littattafan Soyayya (Books of love) genre which started and has now become popular in Northern Nigeria.

However her life as an author didn’t start as beautifully as the books she wrote…

At 12, Balaraba Ramat Yakubu was pulled out of school by her father when he discovered she had been secretly going to school and married her off to a 40 year old man despite protests from her older brother,  Murtala Mohammed (former Military Ruler of Nigeria).

And because she was the imperfect wife who couldn’t conveniently boil even a pot of water, she was sent back to her parents, in disgrace.

The end of her first marriage strengthened her resolve to get an education even more. With help from her mother, she attended adult education classes themed at reading and writing Hausa under the guise of learning sewing and knitting.

Her father discovered her primary school certificate and simply responded by informing her of another arranged marriage.

At 15, she walked into her second marriage with a little sense of fulfilment at having at least an elementary education. However, this marriage was unsuccessful because she was “too independent” and wasn’t as obedient as her husband wanted her to be.

At 18, she was once again sent back to her parents but she stood her ground to complete her education this time around.

She enrolled at the Kano State Agency for Mass Education and later went on to teach other women Hausa language.

Two failed marriages and 5 children later, Balaraba gave up on the institution of marriage and focused on her writing career.

Her first book, Budurwar Zuciya meaning ‘Young At Heart’ was published in 1987.  In 1990, she published Wa Zai Auri Jahila (Who will marry an ignorant woman) which was inspired by her life as a child bride and centered around a 13 year old girl who was pulled out of school and forced to marry an elderly man.

And in spite of the ground she has gained among her readers, she received threatening letters and was the subject of criticism from religious clerics.

However, she continues to write stories that address rape, child marriage, maltreatment of women and domestic violence, all in Hausa language.

Some of her work have been translated into English. An excerpt of Wa Zai Auri was also translated into English by Carmen McCain.

Alhaki Kuykuyo Ne (Sin Is A Puppy That Follow You Home) was made into a movie in 1998 and subsequently translated by Aliyu Kamal in 2012. Some of her books have also been introduced into the Kano State Junior Secondary Schools curriculum.

At 57, she continues to speak out against injustice against women especially in Northern Nigeria and works as the program officer coordinating trauma counselling at the Murtala Mohammed Foundation.

With help from the team at the foundation, she counsels victims affected by Boko Haram attacks and offers them support.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Watch

Now on Zikoko

December 3, 2022

Dear Nigerians, the moment you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially announced the date for Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) collection. When’s the collection?  INEC has given us exactly five weeks for PVC collection — from December 12, 2022 to January 22, 2023.  But Nigerians aren’t too pleased […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

December 5, 2019

We already tried to guess how much you have in your account and your current net worth, and we think we did a pretty great job (keep any complaints to yourself). Now, we’re going to try and guess your monthly salary based on your relationship with money. Oya, take the quiz: 11 Timed Quizzes For […]

November 7, 2019

These days, everyone is always talking about how much sex they’re getting, or how little sex they’re getting, or how disgusting sex is etc. There’s just so much talk about sex, it’s almost impossible to know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. In anticipation of our new series about the sex lives of young […]

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

April 14, 2020

Every friend group consists of very different and specific characters — from the parent to the fun one — and it can be a little tough figuring out where you fall. So, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know exactly what kind of friend you are. Take to find out:

More from Gist

October 29, 2022

Life for adults is tough but life for babies is soft. Here are 9 reasons why we think babies live better lives than adults. They don’t pay rent  Babies live rent-free. Imagine not having to pay your own rent at the end of each year/month. Must be nice.  They always get what they want All […]

October 18, 2022

People who spend ₦50k at restaurants If you’re one of those people that spend ₦50k on cocktails and pasta, be aware that you’re spending someone’s take home salary. RELATED: 5 Nigerians Reveal Their Best Experience At Nigerian Restaurants People who have never had to cook with a boiling ring If this is you, it means […]

May 20, 2022

Nobody will pass off a chance to win an all-expense-paid trip to KENYA with the winner of Nigerian Idol Season 7. So if you are still thinking, dreaming, waiting, or thinking you have enough time, then you are wasting time because this promo is ending on the 7th of June. Do we have your attention? Here’s […]

April 20, 2021

Feel like you’ve run out of interesting places to hangout or visit? We’ve got you. Iba Ajie is a new spot we highly recommend if you are looking to explore places in the Eastern part of Nigeria. If you’re wondering what makes this spot special, here are 5 reasons. 1. There is a Chophouse Yes, […]

August 11, 2020

Remember the Nigerian boy who was seen doing ballet pirouettes barefoot and in the rain, in that viral video? Well, he’s been offered a scholarship by the prestigious American Ballet Theater. With the help of American actresses Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo, the video garnered 15 million views, ultimately leading to Anthony Madu being offered […]

December 19, 2019

Nigeria is a shitty place for those who live here, many seek an escape route. But, amid the insecurities, bad economy, and the uncaring government, some things happened this year that make us feel thankful. Yeah, we know, hard to believe right? Yet we need to end the year on a positive note, so here are some […]

November 18, 2019

Nigerians are yet to come to terms with the fact that cats can be pets but now have to deal with the fact that someone thinks a lion is tame enough to have as a security guard. Reports now confirm that a two-year-old lion was discovered in a residential building in the Victoria Island area […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X