Reflections on Islamic values and the use of Arabo-Islamic vocabulary in the Wakoki of Maazou Dan Alalo

Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

View Publication Info
Field Value
Title Reflections on Islamic values and the use of Arabo-Islamic vocabulary in the Wakoki of Maazou Dan Alalo
Creator Niang, Abdou Salam
Subject Islam
Arabo-Islamic vocabulary
Hausa poetry, “Waka/ Wakoki” (Song)
Sultan of Zinder
Description This paper proposes to reflect on the islamisation of Hausa poetry using the example of the wakoki (songs) of Maazou Dan Alalo. Maazou. Born between 1906 and 1910, at Kiyauka, Katsina in today’s Nigeria, he died on 29 November 2002. Though not a griot by birth, he became the bard of the chief of his village and later court griot to the Sultan of Damagram (Zinder). Islam, introduced in African milieus and in their cultural expressions, generated new religious and linguistic elements, while also producing novelties in their artistic and literary creativity and productions. One example, in the case of Zinder and of Dan Alalo’s wakoki, is the annexation of Islamic virtues in the praise songs of chiefs in Islamised African societies, in which political and religious time came to overlap. Islam was pressed into service to legitimise political rulers like the sultan. However, the sociocultural and political role of the griot took on a particular hue under colonial rule. Public amusement, panegyric of the great and wealthy took place in the overcast conditions of colonial occupation. In this context, Dan Alalo’s wakoki allow a close-up view of colonial history as lived experience, complete with of a range of inside insights on social dynamics, including changes in the power pyramid, strategies of adaptation and preservation of the elite, of the community, and of people’s dignity in particular. In this enterprise, the griot played – and was aware of playing – an invaluable role: in social commentary, censure and distraction. His multiple functions included providing a sense of continuity, protecting the dignity of local rulers and of the community as a whole, through the catharsis of humour, in particular. 
Publisher Tydskrif vir Letterkunde Association
Date 2019-11-14
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Format application/pdf
Source Tydskrif vir Letterkunde; Vol 42 No 2 (2005)
Language eng
Rights Copyright (c) 2019 Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

Contact Us

The PKP Index is an initiative of the Public Knowledge Project.

For PKP Publishing Services please use the PKP|PS contact form.

For support with PKP software we encourage users to consult our wiki for documentation and search our support forums.

For any other correspondence feel free to contact us using the PKP contact form.

Find Us


Copyright © 2015-2018 Simon Fraser University Library