Academic journal article Hemispheres

Patronage of 'Sa Wando' Circumcision Practice in the Metropolis of Kano: Traditional or Modern?

Academic journal article Hemispheres

Patronage of 'Sa Wando' Circumcision Practice in the Metropolis of Kano: Traditional or Modern?

Article excerpt


The paper seeks to examine the level and reasons of patronage to one of the three major types of circumcision amongst the Hausa people of Kano State, Nigeria. It is obvious that certain cultural practices are influenced or modified by socio-economic reasons the research noted the issue of time, undue protocol and finance to be major reasons for the selection of one type than the others. In a typical Hausa community like Kano male circumcision is both a cultural and religious phenomena usually conducted by traditional barbers within the community. This research utilized a simple survey method of interview in order to gather necessary information on the level and reasons for patronize to one of the three prevailing types of circumcision amongst the people. These types are the traditional, modern and the neo-modern or 'sa wando' circumcision respectively. A simple random sampling was used to select the respondents mostly those that visited the 'sa wando' barbers shop located at Rijiyar Lemo area of Kano.

1.0. Introduction

Circumcision is the removal of all or part of the foreskin1 from the penis. It has been of traditional and cultural importance to circumcise the male children between the ages 5 and 9 in a typical Hausa society.2 It has been of great significance to note that the Hausa community assigns social value to people circumcised as opposed to those without it. In Hausa it is referred as 'shayi', 'siili' or 'kaciya'. The Circumcision period is usually celebrated in communal or individual patterns. In recent times, about 10 to 203 children that reach these ages may be circumcised in a single household or it may involve a collection of children from different houses from a small or large village.4 The practice of circumcision is both cultural and religious in Kano. The majority of residents are Muslim, and its practice is an obliged activity for male children.5 Circumcision for female children is not compulsory but upon the request of parents.

1.1. Kan o Overview

Kano State is one of the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is situated in the northern part of the country. The state is predominantly Muslim of Sunni background with a total population of 9.4 million according to a 2006 census. The State is located at 481 meters above sea level and has a typical Sudanese savannah with an average temperature of 26-32 and an annual rainfall of 873 mm. The State has warm and hot weather conditions with a high temperature in the months of April and May that normally proceed the rainy season that arises from May until September with its peak period in August. The State annually experiences cold and harmattan days that normally arrive in December and end in February. Despite the dominance of Islam there are scores of Christians and traditionalists as well. The State is the commercial hub of northern Nigeria and has visitors on a daily basis from within and outside the country every day. The State at present has seen an overwhelming explosion of both population and development.

The city of Kano is among the Hausa city-states popularly known and referred to as Hausa Bakwai that seem to share certain historical origins dating back to the legend of Bayajidda. Available evidence shows that various ancient settlements that formed the nucleus of the state existed in a number of places within and outside the area that came to be known as Kano before the emergence of Bagauda as the first Habe ruler around 999 A.D. Among the better known of these places are Dala, Gwauron Dutse, Magwan, Fanisau, Jigirya and Tanagar. These ancient settlements were eventually brought under the leadership ?? Bagauda either through conquest, coercion or persuasion.6 At present the main city center has shown tremendous expansion necessarily triggered by age long commercial activity that characterizes the area since the evolution of the trans-saharan trade.

Consequent upon the general transition of the state from a local or traditional one of complete sedentary occupations to a modern city, Kano has become a cosmopolitan and the commercial hub of northern Nigeria. …

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