Hausa People, Language, Tribe, Music, Culture, Women, Quick Facts

The Hausa people or tribe is one of the most interesting ethnic groups in the African continent. This is because of their rich history, culture, social order and belief system. They are found in West Africa, especially in Nigeria. They live in the northwestern part of Nigeria and southeastern Niger as well as other west and central African Countries. The area inhabited by the Hausa people is referred to as Hausaland.

Hausa People, Tribe

Many things about this ethnic group are fascinating, interesting and at times even confusing. With the current dissemination of information, many people are getting to know the Hausa people better. The purpose of this article is to show you undisputed facts about Hausa people to add to your knowledge. 

Like other ethnic groups, Hausa has its own mythical ancestors. For the history of the Hausa tribe, folklore has it that their ancestor Bayajidda migrated from Baghdad in ninth century AD and first settled in Bornu. Subsequently, he left Bornu to Daura where he helped the king kill a hideous snake.

As a reward, he was given the Queen of Daura. Bayajidda and the Queen had a son -Bawo who fathered six sons. The six sons of Bawo founded six states; Daura, Katsina, Zazzau (Zaria), Gobir, Kano, and Rano. A seventh state was founded by Bayajidda’s son Biram, whom he had with his first wife Magira. Biram, together with the six other states are collectively referred to as the Hausa bakwai (Hausa seven).

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Hausa is the Largest Ethnic Group in Nigeria. The latest Nigerian national census indicated the total population of Nigeria was 162 million people belonging to over 500 ethnic groups, the three main ones being the Yoruba, the Igbo, and the Hausa. About 30 million of these (representing 18.5%) are the Hausa. This can give you an idea of just how popular the Hausa are.

It would be accurate to say that the Hausa influences all the other tribes given their population. They have also assimilated some smaller ethnic groups that border them. The Hausas are also found in certain other West and Central African countries.

Hausa people


Nigeria is a multi-religious country with Islam, Christianity and Traditional African religion being the three most popular religions in the country. Due to their Arabic roots, the Hausas are predominantly Muslims and very dedicated to their religion. They are considered the 4th largest Muslim bloc in the world.

Inasmuch as the Hausas are Muslims, they are also strict followers of their tradition and therefore subscribe to the traditional African religion. Most of the religious practices in their African Traditional religion are actually related to Islam and therefore does not contradict or conflict their Islamic beliefs.

Hausa girl selling food on the market in Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria.

Hausa Culture, Women, Clothing

The Hausa people have a highly restricted dress code due to their religious beliefs. Men’s dress code is an elaborate dress consisting of a large flowing gown called Babban Riga and robe referred to as juanni and jalaba. The neck area of these gowns features nice embroidery designs that add to their fashion and uniqueness. The dress code cannot be complete without a colourful, embroidered cap (fula).

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Women’s dress code consists of wrappers (abaya) designed with a nicely decorated and colourful cloth with a matching blouse, fabulous head tie, and shawl. If you see a Hausa in these dress codes, you will not fail to notice them because they look original and elegant. This dress code is unique to all the Hausa speaking populations.

Hausa women are one of the prettiest in Nigeria. They are trained from childhood to be humble and submissive to the men – a vital part of their tradition.

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Language, Music

The language of the Hausas has its roots in the Arabic language. It is difficult to find a Hausa man who cannot read Arabic.  Hebrew is also linked to the Hausa language said to be the most widely spoken in West Africa.

Hausas are known for their folk music characterized by a common sound. A one-stringed stick fiddle also called a ‘goge’ is a musical instrument commonly used by the Hausas. The Kalangu talking drums and kakaki or trumpet are also used in making Hausa music. Apart from folk music, the Hausas also make urban court music, African pop, and others.

Quick Facts

  • Hausas are the Most Hospitable People in West Africa. If you have ever been to Nigeria and felt the warmth of their welcome, then it is highly probable that you were cared for by a Hausa. These people are relational and gracious. They will give you the respect you deserve, be warm to you and friendly. They can make friends very fast and maintain it through openness, kindness, and sympathy.

These great relational attributes of the Hausas are as a result of their strict tradition, culture and way of life. From childhood, they are trained to be respectful to the elderly, to be hard workers and to be good to strangers. The Islamic religion can also account for their great virtues, as does the Traditional African religion.

  • The Hausas are Highly Influential. Take a quick peep into the politics of Nigeria and indeed other West African countries. You will realize that most of their political leaders since the antique times have been from the Hausa ethnic group. In addition to their sociability, the Hausas are calculative, strategic and are very good planners. They are highly aggressive when it comes to seizing opportunities. This is why they are very good politicians.

All democracies depend on numbers to wield political power and the Hausa have it. They have the numbers both as an ethnic group and as a religious bloc. With 30 million Hausas in a country of 162 million people, they definitely have an edge. Their influence is not only in politics, they are also very influential religiously.

Obiora Emeka
Chuka is the managing editor at, feel free to follow him on Twitter @chukaudeze


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