Nana Asma'u

Nana Asma’u the daughter of the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate Sheikh Uthman Dan Fadio was born in 1792. She was the first Nigerian woman to publish her first long poem in 1820 “The way of the Pious” and she had other amazing poems to her name including her famous poem “Wakar Gewaye” which is studied in international academic institutes till date.

 

Nana is a poet, a reformer, a scholar, a writer, historian, entrepreneur and women’s right activist. Her poems were used to teach the Caliphate’s founding principles.

 

She was an advocate for women’s education in what later became Northern Nigeria. She was referred to by some as an example of the education and independence of women possible under Islam and referred to by others as an early feminist icon. West African Muslims praise her efforts in encouraging and fighting for the God given rights of women to learn and be active members in the society. She established a cadre of female teachers known as the “Yan taru”. They travelled around educating the masses,especially women. She translated the Q’uran into Hausa to enable wider access.

 

Most of the decisions of the then Sultan, Mohammed Bello of Sokoto were influenced by her as she was his sister and a highly respected adviser.

 

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