Kano State has always been ethnically cosmopolitan. Although it was one of the seven true Hausa states alongside Zaria, Hadejiya, Daura, Katsina, Gobir, and Rano, it also always has been a centre of culture and commerce in the whole West Africa subregion for hundreds of years, hosting dozens of ethnicities such as Arabs, Nupes, Mandingos, and Zarmas.
The 19th century Jihad led by Fulani Islamic scholar, Usman Dan Fodio ushered in a minority Fulani rule in the then nation state. British colonialism and amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates of Nigeria, rather than stifle Kano’s historic advancement, fertilized its demographic growth as tribes such as the Tiv, Jukun, Kanuri, Djerma, Tuareg, Shuwa Arab, Ebira, Angas, Kataf, Gbagyi and the Igala moved in.
Most of the tribes mentioned have become fully integrated with the domineering Hausa and Fulani population, and as such have lost most of their outstanding heritage paraphernalia.
Below we take a look at the not-so different tribes in Kano State, their history, culture and every other thing in between.
The Hausa are the largest ethnic group in Kano State, and all of West Africa. They also have large population in states like Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kaduna, Bauchi, Kebbi and Gombe; and also countries like Niger Republic, Chad, Ghana, Cameroon and Ivory Coast.
The Hausa have remained very influential culturally and politically in Kano State, despite loosing the leadership of the state to Fulanis during the Usman Dan Fodio-led Jihad of the 19th century. The Hausa language is the lingua franca in the state. It is used by both natives and non-natives in both formal and informal interactions. The Hausa mode of dressing is also very popular.
The Hausa who are indigenious to Kano and have no other hometown outside Kano are known as the Kanawa. Other Hausa subgroups in Kano State include the Gobirawa, the Zamfarawa, the Kabawa, the Adarawa and the Hadejawa.
The Fulani are a nomadic tribe who have been influential in the politics, economics and histories of West African states for over a thousand years.
The Fulani played a significant role in the rise and fall of the Mossi states in Burkina Faso, and also contributed to the migratory movements of people southward through Niger and Nigeria into Cameroon.
The Fulani were responsible for introducing and spreading Islam throughout much of western Africa.
The height of the Fulani empire was between the early 1800s and early 1900s. This power was consolidated under Usman Dan Fodio and was centered in Sokoto. Dan Fodio was a devout Muslim who used religious fervour to ignite troops to undertake series of Jihads.
Following the early success of Fulani Islamic warriors, non-Islamic Fulani joined ranks with their fellows to form an extensive and powerful empire across much of northern Nigeria.
Kano was made a province of the powerful Fulani empire headquartered in Sokoto during this period, and the Fulani took over power in what was a Hausa nation-state.
The Kanuri are ethnic group found primarily in north-eastern Nigeria states of Borno and Yobe, and also in Chad and Niger Republic.
The Kanuri include several subgroups such as the Ngizmawa and Mangawa, some of whom consider themselves distinct from the Kanuri.
The Kanuri first came to Kano as merchants and scholars centuries ago, when the Kanem-Bornu empire was still in existence.
Today, the Kanuri are everywhere in Kano State, in both rural areas and urban centers.
The Maguzawa are an Hausa tribe found in Katsina and Kano States, mainly in rural areas surrounding the capital cities of the two states.
The Maguzawa are predominantly farmers. When not engaged in farming during the dry season, they subsidize their income in other ways. Maguzawa women often trade on items required within their communities.
There exists a strong distinction between the Maguzawa and their Hausa cousins in the city who relatively are more educated and who strongly follow Islam. The Maguzawa are often mistreated by their city cousins who are better educated and heavily influenced by Muslim outsiders and the government.
A Maguzawa community is led by a Sarki who is the overall head of the several important areas of their everyday lives. There is the head of farming, the head of the pagans, and the head of the bush.
The famous alcoholic beverage known as burukutu is consumed heavily and used in all ceremonies among the Maguzawa. The rate of alcoholism is very high. In fact, the head of pagans among the Maguzawa is usually the best burukutu drinker of the community.
There are close to 200,000 Maguzawa in Kano and Katsina States.
The Kurama, or Akurmi, or Bagwama are found in Saminaka and Lere local government areas of Kaduna State, in Tudun Wada local government area of Kano State, and in Jigawa State. They settled in this region more than 600 years ago.
The Kurama are amiable and friendly people who are primarily subsistence farmers. Some Kurama also work as tailors, carpenters and traders.
There are over 67,000 Kurama, majority of whom are adherents of the Christian religion.