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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Islamic-Hausa feminism and Kano market literature: Qur'anic reinterpretation in the novels of Balaraba Yakubu
Author:Whitsitt, NovianISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
popular literature
Equality and Liberation
About person:Balaraba Ramat Yakubu
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v033/33.2whitsitt.pdf
Abstract:In the urban areas of northern Nigeria, a burgeoning corpus of contemporary Hausa popular literature has captured the attention and concern of the entire Hausa community. Given that the majority of the books are written and sold in Kano, the literature's English moniker is Kano market literature. To Hausa speakers, this genre of popular romance fiction is known as 'Littattafan Soyayya' (books of love). Soyayya novels have become an explorative forum for the socially and culturally loaded issues of polygamy, marriages of coercion, 'purdah' (the Islamic tradition of seclusion), and accessibility of education for females. Soyayya women writers are undeniably feminist, in the sense that they possess an awareness of the constraints placed upon women because of their gender and a desire to dislodge these constraints. This article focuses on the work of one of these Islamic feminist writers, Balaraba Ramat Yakubu. An analysis of her novels 'Budurwa zuciya' (Young at heart), 'Alhaki kuykuyo ne' (Retribution is inescapable), and 'Wa zai auri jahila?' (Who will marry the ignorant woman?) shows that they are absorbed in exploring gender norms and the power differential embedded in traditional relationships. Yakubu avoids allegiance to cultural traditions if it means compromising her feminist agenda to customary patriarchal privileges. Though not formal religious treaties, her works thus serve a broad-minded and progressive 'ijtihad' (the practice of reinterpreting the Koranic philosophy on human relations), dramatically reordering the designated family structure and its residential stability. Bibliogr. [ASC Leiden abstract]