There are many posts I have wanted to write, but I put them off because there is always something else I am supposed to be doing. I am currently skipping over an important post I have been planning for a month, namely, the election and the euphoria of Buhari’s win (when people stood in line all day and all night to vote and partied on Twitter) and a series of photos I took in Lagos during the second election for House of Assembly members and governors. Hopefully I will get to that.
Today, though, I am missing Kannywood. Where I live now, in western Nigeria, I have made friends with a young Hausa girl in Junior Secondary 2. She comes to my house to visit me, and we talk in Hausa, she braids my hair and asks to see photos of Kannywood. I scroll through old albums. She wants to see photos of Adam A. Zango and Sadiq Sani Sadiq, who she calls “mijina.” I have so many folders ordered by month and day that I cannot quite remember where everything is, so I swoop in at random and pull things up, and usually it is something she wants to see. I think maybe on this blog, I should start posting random photos every week, if I don’t have anything else to write about.
So, here, today, I will post a few photos of the years I was in Kano and involved in Kannywood– it was equal parts glamor and exhaustion, occasionally terrifying for a shy me, at over-long bikis, on film sets, and industry meetings, workshops, and award ceremonies. But more than anything, it was community. I felt like I had been adopted into a family, and I spent much of my time in Kano in studios and offices, hanging out, listening to gossip and political debates and jokes. I miss that. And those days in Kaduna, Zaria, Jos, on sets, smooshed five to a backseat in cars on the way to the next location, five ladies to a bed in hotels while one actress watches the Zombie Apocolypse on DSTV until 2am and another has long midnight calls, the times you sit around watching people saying their lines over and over again, the banter and the long conversations that happen behind the scenes, while waiting for the last scene to wrap.
Where I am now, people continuously shout “oyinbo” at me. It is nothing new. I grew up in Nigeria and I know that it is rarely malicious, often affectionate. But is alienating nevertheless. It reminds me that I am foreign, that I do not belong. In Kano, there was a familiarity, in my own small community that spilled over to the larger public once people began to recognize my face. I was not just a “baturiya.” I was “their” baturiya–a Baturiya Bahaushiya–a baturiya at home. Most of all I miss that. The ability to, if not to quite fit in, to belong, to be in a place where I was not just an alien but a “member” of a community who can straddle two worlds.
The last time I was in Kano was briefly in 2013. It was not the same as I remembered it. Homes left behind never are. Lives move on. Friends marry, move studios, leave film for other work. But from 2008 to 2011, this place was my community. These people, my home.
In the past couple of days, I have gotten phone calls from my Golden Goose crew, the studio I spent much of my time in the first few years in Kano. I thank these my friends for remembering me. Much love to them all.
Sai na dawo.
Hello Dr, we are also missing you both in kannywood and your Saturday edition on trust.we hope we shall see you soonest. Regards. Mustapha Shehu, kano.
Na gode, Malam Mustapha. I hope to return to both as soon as I can, once I can figure out how to balance my academic side and my creative side.
We miss Baturiya too. I had always flicked through Dailytrust pages only to read “My Thought Exactly” but too see it out of date. Muna fata bamu yi maki laifi ba.
Ibrahim, a’a, ku ba ku yi min laifi ba. Sai dai aiki ya yi min yawa. Insha Allah zan dawo column dina nan gaba.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
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Allah Sarki Talatu, na tuna lokacin da muke haduwa a shy plaza, office din Jammaje. Ni inaso muyi turanci, as a keen english learner, ke kuma kina so muyi hausa, as a keen hausa learner lol. Haka dai, I spoke in english while you replied in hausa. We hope to see you back home in Kano soon.
Rabi’u, ai, na tuna lokacin ai. Haka ake yin lokacin da ana so a cigaba da harshe! Na gode sosai. Sai na dawo.
Dr. Yanzu ya za’ayi, in na so asa ke flm, a Kano?
Great photos! Yes you should definitely post more of these. The one of you and Dan Auta is just awesome!! 🙂
I should just post photos with no writing, abi? The writing is the main thing that slows me down. Maybe I should start doing that. And yeah, that photo with Dan Auta captures a fun time. 🙂