Hi, my name is Tafari and I’m a lost child of Nigeria in the AFRICAN DIASPORA searching for home, safety, and happiness.
So last night, I decided to look at my 23 & Me results again to see if they too had ethnic background updates like Ancestry.com has been advertising recently.
When I got my initial results last year, they were fairly generic stating the obvious… 80+% Sub Saharan West African and that I may be from the Bantu people. OK…
Last night, I got much more from 23 & Me with their extended date sets.
Sub-Saharan African – 88.2%
– West African – 72.4%
— Nigerian – 33.6%
— Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean – 16.8%
— Senegambian & Guinean – 8.4%
— Broadly West African – 13.7%
— Congolese & Southern East African – 10.3%
— Angolan & Congolese – 8.4%
Slaver/Rapist DNA Composition – European – 8.4%
East Asian & Native American – 2.0%
Now that I have a fuller set of facts about my history, I am feeling some kinda way! I woke up this morning and was emotionally stuck. Crying! Why I don’t know. Happy? Nervous? I have so many questions running through my head!
Where and what now? How can I best connect to Nigeria? Can I claim Nigeria as my ancestral homeland? Will Nigeria embrace me as a son? Am I Yoruba or Igbo or…? Who are my Gods? What is my language?
My puzzle is coming together!
Crazy thing… me and one of my good friends decided to make a trip to Senegal next year to discovery. Since then, he found out that his ethic heritage is from Sierra Leone & me finding out just last night that mine is Nigerian. The trip is gonna be different now. It has to be.
In the meantime, I’m about to research Nigerian jollof rice recipes. Food is always a great bridge and I hear Nigerians make the best jollof.
Nigerian friends… talk to me!
UPDATE!!! I sat down and slowed down to read more of my DNA results and this was hiding right before my eyes on the 23 & Me site…
“Your paternal line stems from a branch of haplogroup E called E-M132, which is seen at low frequencies in the Bahamas on the islands of Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, and Long Island. This is likely a reflection of historical movements of African and Creole slaves before and after the abolition of slavery in 1807. Over 25% of slaves transported to the Bahamas during the slave trade were from West and Central Africa, which is consistent with the most common location of E-M132. Lower numbers of slaves were taken from other ports in Africa, including those along the Gold Coast, the Windward Coast, and the Bight of Biafra. Many African ethnic groups were victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, including the Fulani and Hausa, two groups in which your haplogroup are heavily represented.”
That’s REAL! So I did some internet research and found this on PBS News Hour.
Muslim Hausa and Fulani are the predominant ethnic groups in Nigeria’s northern region. Though the groups originated in different parts of West Africa, religion, intermarriage and adoption of the Hausa language by the Fulani have unified the groups over time. In contemporary Nigerian society, they are often referred to collectively as Hausa-Fulani.
The largest of the major ethnic groups, Hausa and Fulani have been politically dominant since Nigeria’s independence from Britain in 1960.
Islam is a key component of their ethnic identity and continues to inform their role in modern Nigerian society and politics. Their culture is deeply patriarchal and patrilineal.
In recent years, Hausa and Fulani were instrumental in adopting and upholding Sharia, a system of Islamic law, in 11 of the country’s northern states.”
Hausa–Fulani is a term unique to Nigeria which collectively refers to the Hausa and Fulani as a people. The two are grouped together because since the Fulani War their histories have become even more intertwined within Nigeria. Although through migration into Hausaland, the Fulani have been part and parcel of Hausa society both as settled and nomadic Fulani since the 1400s.
A significant portion of the Hausa and Fulani societies, especially outside Nigeria are opposed to the use of the hyphenated term, which has been made popular most especially in recent times by its increased use in mass media. Though more than half of all the Fulani in Nigeria have mixed with the Hausa through inter marriage.
The Hausa and Fulani together account for about 33.7% of Nigeria’s population according to the CIA World Factbook. Nigeria’s other major ethnic groupings are the Yoruba and Igbo.
Historically, Katsina was the centre of Hausa Islamic scholarship but was later replaced by Sokoto stemming from the 17th century Usman Dan Fodio Islamic reform.
The Hausa are culturally and historically closest to other Afroasiatic ethnic groups, primarily the Shuwa Arabs (in Chad, Sudan and northeastern Nigeria); the Tuareg (in Agadez, Maradi and Zinder); as well as Nilo-Saharan peoples such as the Gur and in particular, the Fula.
All of these various ethnic groups among and around the Hausa live in the vast and open lands of the Sahel, Saharan and Sudanian regions, and as a result of the geography and the criss crossing network of traditional African trade routes, have had their cultures heavily influenced by their Hausa neighbours, as noted by T.L. Hodgkin “The great advantage of Kano is that commerce and manufactures go hand in hand, and that almost every family has a share in it. There is something grand about this industry, which spreads to the north as far as Murzuk, Ghat and even Tripoli, to the West, not only to Timbuctu, but in some degree even as far as the shores of the Atlantic, the very inhabitants of Arguin dressing in the cloth woven and dyed in Kano; to the east , all over Borno, …and to the south…it invades the whole of Adamawa and is only limited by the pagans who wear no clothing.”
In clear testimony to T. L Hodgkin’s claim, the people of Agadez and Saharan areas of central Niger, the Tuareg and the Hausa groups are indistinguishable from each other in their traditional clothing; both wear the tagelmust and indigo Babban Riga/Gandora. But the two groups differ in language, lifestyle and preferred beasts of burden (the Tuareg use camels, while Hausa ride horses)
The origins of the Fulani people are unclear and various theories have been postulated. As a nomadic herding people, they have moved through and among many other cultures. Skutsch notes that their oral histories point toward a start in Egypt or farther east, but also that their language comes from the Senegambian region. He concludes that the modern Fulani people began in the northern Senegambian region.
Walter Rodney in his book The History of the Upper Guinea Coast, argues that Fulbe are originally from North Africa and they conquered the Foota Djallon region led by the Fulani Koli Tenguella.
The ethnogenesis of the Fulani people may have begun as a result of interactions between an ancient West African population and North African populations such as Berbers or Egyptians. Their West African roots may be in and around the valley of Senegal River. They likely reflect a genetic intermix of people with West African, North African, and Arabian origins, and have been a part of many ruling dynasties particularly in the Sahel and West Africa. Speculations about their origins started in the era of European conquest and colonization.
Hausa-Fulani Hausa-Fulani | Harvard Religious Literacy Project
In the context of Nigeria, the groups are frequently combined as a reflection of their intertwined histories beginning in the 19th century, when the Fulani Muslim scholar and leader Usman Dan Fodiolaunched a jihad which assumed control over Hausa city-states and established the Sokoto Caliphate. However, Hausa remained the language of administration and, alongside Arabic, of scholarship and literature. Intermarriage between the Hausa and Fulani was frequent.
With the onset of British colonialism, the Hausa-Fulani identity deepened in contradistinction to southern Nigerian ethnic identities. Following Nigerian independence, this intensified as regional cultural and religious identities acted as prominent mobilizing forces used by politicians advocating for greater regional representation in the central government. Ahmadu Bello’s “One North, One Islam” policy, intended to unify northern Muslims, also resulted in smaller tribes’ and communities’ decision to identify with Hausa-Fulani, often by assuming Hausa as the predominant language of the village. As such, depending on the context, Hausa-Fulani is an ethnic, a religious, a cultural, and/or a linguistic marker.
Photo Credit: Andre Williams (Detroit)
Body Paint: Laolu (New York)