There have been several assumptions surrounding the origin of the Hausa-Fulani people of Africa, but the truth remains that there is really not much difference between them. The Fulani people claim the Semitic origin while the Hausas are mostly indigenous to West Africa, although both are mostly found in the northern part of Nigeria. They are an ethnolinguistic group of West Africa with an estimated population of over 30 million people, making them the largest ethnic group in West Africa. This is primarily hinged on their intermarriage and constant migration.
HISTORICAL ORIGIN OF THE HAUSA-FULANI TRIBE
The Hausa-Fulani identity came into existence as a result of the migration of the Fulani people into the Hausa land around the 14th century. This brought about their cultural assimilation into the Hausa society.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio led a successful Jihad against the Hausa kingdoms, founding a centralized Fulani empire (anglicized as the Sokoto Caliphate). After the Jihad, Dan Fodio encouraged intermarriage between the immigrant Fulanis and the conquered Hausa states. As a result of this assimilation, Hausa-Fulani formed the core and vast majority of the population of Daura, Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Zazzau and Sokoto.
The Fulanis are referred to as Nomads, or Nomadic. Due to their constant migration to different places, they are recognized in almost all parts of the West African region. The Fulani people are called Nomads because of their lifestyle and occupation of rearing cows.
The Hausas, on the other hand, are predominantly farmers and often travel in search of greener pastures.
CULTURES OF THE HAUSA-FULANI PEOPLE
The Hausas are mostly located in the North, Niger Republic, Sudan, Cameron, Ghana, Cotê d’ivoire and Chad. Most of the Fulanis in this region do not differ from the Hausas. They make music and art the most important part of their life. Work-songs often accompany activities in the rural areas and markets. Praise-singers sing about community histories, leaders and other prominent individuals. Storytelling, local dramas and musical performances are also common forms of traditional entertainment.
The Hausa-Fulani men are recognized by their elaborate dresses. Many wear large flowing gowns (gare, babban gida), with fancy embroidery around the neck. They also wear colorful embroidered caps – Huluna. Hausa women wear a wrap-around robe made of colorful cloth, with a matching blouse, head tie and shawl.
Many Hausas are devout Muslims who believes in Allah and Muhammad as his prophet. They pray five times each day and read the Koran. The Fulanis have no disparity in religious belief. They both embark on pilgrimage (Hajj) to the Holy land in Mecca.
Although they are really identical in many ways, one cannot help but pick out the areas in which they have no similarity: ●The Hausas are mostly found in the northern part of West Africa while the Fulani’s are of the Semitic region.
● The Hausas are predominantly farmers while the Fulanis are cattle rearers.
Many times people tend to put a huge disparity between these two tribes but from all indications, there are no much evidential difference between them. People therefore should see them as one tribe due to their assimilation and ethnic affinities.