Kano Durbar: The overlooked goldmine - Hassana Gambo

Kano Durbar: The overlooked goldmine - Hassana Gambo

Editor's note: Practicing architect, Hassana Gambo writes on the popular Kano Durbar culled from her thesis “UPGRADING OF GIDAN SARKI FANISAU” which she wrote in the Department of Architecture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Kano Durbar: The overlooked goldmine - Hassana Gambo

The Kano Durbar is a historical and well celebrated procession. Photo credit: Hassana Gambo

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There are tourism events in Nigeria, that are attracting huge number of people and enhancing businesses, which if harnessed and coordinated properly can become a major revenue generating machine for the states and the nation.

Amongst which is the rich and centuries old Kano Durbar. It is a fascinating event that draws the attention of thousands of people yearly, yet the endless tourism opportunities obviously affiliated to it is ignored.

Durbar festival began centuries ago to celebrate the return of the Hausa ruler and his entourage from successful wars, where there is display of horsemanship, elaborate dresses, war weapons amongst numerous others. The durbar evolved over the years to become an event that is performed during sallah festivities, to enable the Emir address the public and officially visit the governor, as stipulated during the colonial times.

Kano Durbar: The overlooked goldmine - Hassana Gambo

A colourful horse rider during a durbar ceremony. Photo credit: Hassana Gambo

The durbar activity is a procession of the Emir and his district heads, in coordinated arrangements. Each district head has his entourage on horseback in remarkable ensembles of different roles , such as the Yan tauri (the warriors), makadan hakimi (the musicians) , yayan hakimi (princes) amongst others, with a banner indicating each group . While the Emir as the last on the procession, has his own special entourage which includes the sarkin tuta (chief of flags), wawan sarki (royal jester), Yan bindiga (royal gunmen), yan tauri (royal swordsmen) amongst numerous others.

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Each of the designated days of the Kano durbar has specific activities at special locations. The hawan daushe was incorporated into the durbar festivities around 200 yrs ago to enable a favourite emir’s aide called daushe to attend the festivities on recovering from illness, the tradition is maintained till date to commemorate the daushe and a royal visit to the mother of the emir is now incorporated.

The hawan Nassarawa was initiated during the colonial days, to visit the resident.The present day durbar entourage visits the governor and proceeds to a mini palace (Gidan sarki na nassarawa) to rest and pray to the emirs forefathers buried there. The Hawan fanisau is a visit to the mini palace, that had a lavish royal garden centuries ago, at fanisau. The event includes the hosting of a lavish picnic for the district heads, village heads, war heads and dignitaries. The Hawan dorayi is the final durbar day, which includes a visit to the royal mini palace at dorayi and a picnic for the whole entourage.

Kano Durbar: The overlooked goldmine - Hassana Gambo

Gambo says a well coordinated durbar can be a goldmine for authorities in Nigeria. Photo credit: Hassana Gambo

The Kano Durbar festival is an ancient yet interesting string of activities intertwined with events and beautiful sights to behold. A coordinated tourism activities around this unique event is a goldmine for Kano state, numerous people and businesses such as rental of horses, royal clothings, photography, attending the royal picnic, participating in the procession amongst other prospects.

The Kano state government can work together with the emirate council to create a tourism loop around the activities and historical locations towards generating revenue and employment for its people. A well coordinated Kano Durbar can become the next MARDI GRAS of West Africa (a procession event celebrated in New Orleans, U.S.A, generating approximately $465million in 2014 as revenues for the state) .

Gambo have a profound interest in Hausa traditional architecture, landscape architecture and sustainability. She can be contacted by email: hassanagee@yahoo.com.

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