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.
Avatar

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Watch

Now on Zikoko

December 3, 2020

Don’t let their cuteness deceive you; kids are crackheads. They’ll do the weirdest shit and then when you catch them, they’ll start acting like they’ve been framed. If you want to save yourself a lot of cleaning and embarrassment, keep these seven things away from your kids. 1. Powder Children see powder and immediately think […]

December 3, 2020

On Sunday, November 30th, 2020, many Nigerians woke up to the sad news that over 43 rice farmers in communities near Borno State, Nigeria, had been killed by Boko Haram insurgents. While the government has claimed that Boko Haram has been “technically defeated”, the group continues to carry out terrorist attacks, especially in the northeastern […]

Recommended Quizzes

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

More from Gist

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 […]

November 4, 2019

The 8th edition of the popular beach soccer tournament, Copa Lagos held throughout the weekend at Eko Atlantic, VI. It had us loving the opportunity to immerse ourselves in enjoyment. You should know by now that we can’t pass up a chance to get the ultimate weekend experience. And you know the fun part? We […]

October 21, 2019

In case you went under the rock this weekend then you MISSED. There was a lot of excitement for our Nigerian superstar musicians and the spotlight was on them, big time. From the much anticipated Headies award, to the birth of Davido’s son, Naira Marley’s legwork and his subtle shade at the organizers of the […]

October 15, 2019

Leather, as I have always known it to be, is a flexible material gotten from tanning animal skin. It is used to make most fashion items (shoes, clothes, bags, wristwatches), furniture, book covers and more. Cattle hide and reptile skin are the most popular skins used for leather but now there is a new kid […]

October 5, 2019

Tiwa Savage is in the news again for being number one ni Africa bad girl who comes with fire. Apparently, Charles Anazodo, media personality and sports analyst, got his pressure so high over the fact that Tiwa didn’t say Ello baby o, how do you do? He proceeded to narrate the whole incident on Twitter […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

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.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.

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