A UI Designer Wants The World To Know About Invisible People Of The North

June 15, 2016
When people who love to travel return from their journeys, they come with souvenirs and stories of their experiences and the people they met.

Telling the Al-Majiri story with pictures is Kolapo Oladapo, a UI and graphic designer who takes interest in changing the African narrative with code and design.

During his travel across some northern states, he learnt about the Al-Majiri community and how they are invisible realities in their own community.

Although the Al-Majiri system is now a nightmare compared to what it used to be, the number of children in the system keeps growing.

Kolapo decided to tell the story of these children who should be the future of tomorrow.

In his words, “I could show you a thousand photos exhibiting the rare & preserved beauty of Northern Nigeria”.

“I’ve seen the beautiful tall city gates, the horses,the castles…I could tell you about the INVISIBLE PEOPLE, my people, our people who are seen only by outsiders but not the indigenes and I will. They move in troops & their cloaking device is abject poverty, that way you cannot see them because they blend into the general statuesque of Northern Nigeria and indeed the entire nation, poverty”.

These children are found everywhere in the north and are usually treated like outcasts. In this photo story, Kolapo explains the story of the average Al-Majiri child.

They are everywhere, everywhere”.

These children who ought to be in school usually work as refuse collectors.

Refuse collectors in Kano. Lots of children ages 5-15 are engaged in menial jobs around Nigeria but a little more than usual in Northern Nigeria”.

Their parents place them in the care of Mallams who are expected to teach them Arabic and Islamic education.

“The Al-Majiri kids usually between age 5-15 can be found everywhere in Northern Nigeria even in the eyebrow places like malls, parks, the zoo, etc. It’s almost like they are INVISIBLE”.

In return for their education, their parents send funds and farm produce for their upkeep and also in appreciation of the Mallam’s efforts.

The Mallams like pimps use the wards as beggars who file returns to them at the end of the day. If they don’t meet the target, the sleep in the many abandoned infrastructures around. Places like old theaters houses, behind public toilets, market stalls & so on”.

One can only imagine the harsh conditions they have to go through.

“An Alimajiri eating his morning ration (breakfast) from a polythene bag”.

Most times, the few who meet their daily target get to sleep in a crowded room of 20-30 people.

Most times in pursuit of the Mallam’s happiness they get beaten, injured, whipped for either trying to steal or behaving like one who lacks home training. These are the times where the indigenes see the INVISIBLE PEOPLE. But I wonder how a child can have home training, when they have no home”.

Some of these children resort to menial jobs.

These harsh conditions of survival drive some into petty crime.

Even though their children will have to beg for a living, some parents still continue to send their children to these Mallams.

I told my friend Abdul that in Lagos the government through its task force picks up children who hawk during school hours…He laughed and told me that if the government tried that here, they’ll be chaos because most parents don’t want their wards in “western styled” schools. They prefer them learning from the Mallams”. Check out more stories from Kolapo on his Instagram page @Kp.e.
Avatar

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

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 […]

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 […]

November 4, 2019

After successfully predicting when y’all are getting married (please, email any complaints to noneofourbusiness@nayousabi.com), we are back to tell you how much is currently in your account. How, you might ask? By using your taste in Nollywood, of course. Shhh. No questions. Just take it already:

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

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 […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

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.
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.

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