Cultural Proximity and Eastern Focus in the Hausa Literature

Cultural Proximity and Eastern Focus in the Hausa Literature
We live in a world where the local, national, and transnational are increasingly intertwined, whether it be the production of commodities, social movements, or ideas and values in Hong Kong, New York, or Moscow. Consumer products are assembled in one country from parts and raw materials from many others, and then marketed internationally; global capital and investment move through transnational corporations capable of coordinating information about new sites of production with new markets. Networks of coordinated production are now competitive alternatives to more traditional, ‘vertically’ organized, hierarchical corporations. At the same time, these networks are producing global classes of ‘symbolic analysts’ and ‘information professionals’ that link Bangalore to Palo Alto and Taipei. The forces behind this internationalization are increasingly outside direct state control, and yet they form the dynamic edge for changes all over the world.
The interplay between the local, national, and transnational is producing a world in which dealing with local and domestic issues requires placing them in cross-national contexts, while understanding the ’emerging global order’ requires greater cultural sensitivity to such problems elsewhere. From this interplay, a paradox seems to emerge: there can be no understanding of the global without understanding it as the ways in which different ‘local’ sites are coordinated; yet there can be no understanding of any ‘local’ without understanding the global of which it is a part. Our existing forms of knowledge production and expertise are not exempt from these global processes; it is increasingly impossible for us to understand contemporary changes both here and abroad without seeing how they are intertwined with other perspectives. The challenge is how, from a given location, do we create forms of understanding that can grapple with both the situatedness of local knowledge and its more global implications.
Thus the concerns of de-culturalization expressed by the conservative establishment in all societies is the acquisition of alien mindsets and norms of behavior to the detriment of local culture. In some cases, there are fears that foreign entertainment media will kill local creativity.
And yet generally speaking, creative activity and its complex relation to society is today hardly recognized and accommodated by cultural policy. The necessity to develop art as a vital interpretative process is misunderstood or ignored by many decision-makers, who tend to favor ‘safer’ investments in a timeworn heritage. This is more so in Islamic societies where the distinction between private and public sphere is so rigidly enforced that creativity and creative arts are on the threshold of creating conflicts within traditional Islamic societies.
In this paper I trace the Easter motif in Hausa popular culture, by paying attention to the evolutionary trends in Hausa literature, particularly prose fiction, and its parallel partner among Hausa youth, the Hausa video film. Both these categories of popular culture among the Hausa youth derive their direct antecedent inspirations not from the Western global media flows—as is normally expected—but from Eastern media flows from the Middle East and Asia, to Africa. This is a significant paradigm shift in media influence theory in that the Hausa youth would seem to have articulated their inspirations and sources as coming from Asia and Middle East, than from Western societies. The main purpose of my analysis is to draw attention to passage of culture from one society to another, and how media facilitates this passage of culture
When the British colonized what later became northern Nigeria in 1903, they inherited a vast population of literate citizenry, with thousands of Qur’anic schools and equally thousands of Muslim intellectual scholars. Since it was clear that it would be against the grain of British colonial rule to encourage Islamic scholarship, a way has to be devised to slow down the progress of Islamic education. That way was simply the forceful intrusion of roman alphabet into a newly created education system in 1909.(Abdullah U.2008).

Written by Bashir Garba Shehu

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