Yunusa oral interviews, 1975, 005B through 008B



2 Aug 1975 - 18 Aug 1975


Part 1 [005B - 006A] :
Interviewer: Yusufu Yunusa
Interviewee: Alhaji Yunusa Mikail, male
Date: August 2, 1975
Duration: 30 mins
Place: 169 Tudun Wada Kano
Topics discussed: Slave trade
Notes: Slaves were brought from Ningi, Burno and Damagaran to be sold in Kano. They were also caught in Kano to be sold in Borno as well. Among Individual owners of Gwandu was Sharubutu. Kwandila wasalso well known owner of slaves in Gwandu and well popular as he was very rich, although the white people abololished the slave trade, Sharubutu slaves decided to stay with him they were found to be blended with his own chirldren. Amadu Dan Falalu was among the popular slave sellers in Kano or Dealar, with the end of slave trade he continued to sell cows and his wealth improved accordingly but his only one popular child Dan Talle proved to be most useless child after all. Slave market in Kano was name Larabar Kanawa. Interviewer suggested he is willing to show the specific place slave market in Kano. Kanawa was never enslaved because there is no such reason for that to enslaved him. As stated by Sarki Gwandu.

Emir of Kano never sold his slave rather slave loyalties can lead to his freedom as whole. Unlike the emir, individual owners of slave can sell their slave but they also free their slaves. Slave dealer have their own screat to make sure the slave can not be excape whatsoever.

Part 2 [006A - 006B] :
Interviewer: Yusufu Yunusa
Interviewee: M. Adamu Abdullahi Adamu, (ex-Emir of Ningi, 1957-1961), male, 43 years old
Date: August 3, 1975
Duration: 9 mins
Place: Diso quarters Kano # 407
Topics discussed: Slave trade
Notes: States different tribes or groups in Ningi area; also the reason for constant fight between Kano and Ningi regarded as emir Usman imposed Ningi people to pay taxes or haraji that not familiar before emir Usman. Different roles of slaves work as of domestic.

No matter how rich a slave was he has to be enslaved and work for his master in Gwandu. Differences between Gwandu enslavement in the past and in recent times. Hard working slaves and lazy slaves were the same and were treated equally because they were all slaves, hard working slave reward might not be sold after all as his reward. Slave punishment can also lead somehow to execution but never imprisonment. States the reason why there was a fight between Damagaran and emir Alu.

Part 3 [006B - 007A] :
Interviewer: Yusufu Yunusa
Interviewee: Alh Yusuf Isiyaku, 85 years old
Date: August 6, 1975
Duration: 12 mins
Place: Yakasai Road, Kano City
Topics discussed: Slave trade
Notes: Discussions on 4 categories of slaves and how they become slaves and concubinage, war slaves normally found in Ningi, Gobir and Damagaran; they were also bought from Maiduguri. There were slave dealers in Kano; slaves were recognised sometimes with regards to their different social roles and different custom or clothing they were wearing. Mundabar was also discussed.

Discussion with Islamic teacher on slavery in Islam, the word Dimajau defines as bachucene origin in fulbe languages.

Part 4 [007A - 008A] :
Interviewer: Yusufu Yunusa
Interviewee: M. Idrisu dan Maisoro, male, 77 years old
Date: August 7, 1975
Place: Hausawa Road, Kano City
Topics discussed: Slave trade
Notes: Discussion on where slaves originated; slaves were found in Ningi, Zaria area, Damagaran War prisoners can not be killed rather enslaved even though they were Muslim. Many slaves were gifted to Sakwkwato Caliphate; Normally slaves were bought with their agreement; in a market they were tied together one by one just like the prisoners they were also applied white ashes in their body in order to be identified.

Discussion on grains as the most important crop cultivated by the slaves for the emir apart from that anything else was used for the slaves such as potatoes, cassave and so on. Mudabbar define as agreement written statement by master to his slave that he agrees after his death the slave become a free person as his own son. It was the belief that if a person buy a slave and the slave refuses to be enslaved by his master, he would definitely be his slave hereafter.

Without the slave abolishment, slave trade would have been continued, Nasara or white people was defined as Zaki when it comes to the end of slave trade. He commanded the people not do so and it stop immediately. Slaves were given a paper stating that they were not slaves rather free person on their own. Many slaves have not returned to their original land because it was not enjoyable as Kano life even though they were slaves. A story how the Ningi people-non Muslims stop paying taxes which mark the starting point of constant war between Kano and Ningi althought there was Muslim.

Part 5 [008A - 008B]:
Interviewer: Yusufu Yunusa
Interviewee: Alhaji Wada
Date: August 18, 1975
Duration: 18 mins
Place: Yufi Teachers College, Shahuchi, Kano City
Topics discussed: Slave trade
Notes: Interviewee confirms that he was not a witness to any of his statements rather he heard it from his elders. Stated that before ethnicity was not recognised until somebody provided the idea of marking the slave and Bachuchene with three marks on their chin in order to defines who is Fulani and who is a slave. Define the meaning of Mudabbar and Murgu.

Discussion on concubinage. Concubines role called as Ummu Wallad or Takarya Mari, Kafin Bayi. Slaves were given a paper to confirm that they were not slaves by white people; some took the paper, some refused to accept it. Discussion on slave market and how they can be identified; Was a joke to many slaves and efusesn to be free. Not only a slave is a slave rather everybody can be slave if he has been caught even Fulani people can be enslaved as well. Differences between Gwandu and Rinji.

Please note that the quality of the audio recordings may be poor.





© 1975 Yusufu Yunusa


Yunusa, Yusufu, “Yunusa oral interviews, 1975, 005B through 008B,” The Harriet Tubman Resource Centre Digital Archive, accessed January 23, 2020, http://digital.tubmaninstitute.ca/items/show/774.