“Maraici”, orphanhood, by Safiyya Ahmad, a 23-year-old indigene of Zaria, Kaduna State, has won this year’s BBC Hausa short story contest for women.
“Maraici” is the story of Karima, a girl who, abandoned as an infant, grows up in an orphanage and is adopted by Hajiya Babba, a benefactor that puts her through primary and secondary education and then marries her off – but the marriage ends in dissolution and she is rejected by her benefactor.
Last year, Safiyya decided to make her ambition of becoming a writer a reality.
Hearing about the BBC Hausa Short Story Writing Contest for Women, Safiyya sat down and wrote “Maraici”.
She said she was influenced by the challenges she faced as a child, following the death of her father and inspired by the stories she heard from her mother, she
Mrs Ahmed says, “I cannot put my feelings into words. My happiness is unquantifiable.”
Lead judge Dr Aliyah Adamu says: “The writer of “Maraici” convinced us, and her theme conveys what we would like to see women, especially in northern Nigeria, realise—that obstacles do not mean the end of life.”
In its fourth year, the contest was introduced to give female writers a platform to tell and share their stories.
Editor of the Hausa Service, Aliyu Tanko said: “We have seen such a high calibre of entries this year.
“I’m glad that Hausa women have embraced this competition and the themes that are shared in these stories amazes me.”
Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, Head of BBC West Africa saide: “We are delighted to support the development of female Hausa writers in telling their stories to the world.
“This year’s winner highlights a story that many women can relate to and it’s great that her work is getting the recognition it deserves.”
Meanwhile, the first runner up in this year’s competition is Jamila Abdullahi Rijiyar-Lemo’s “Ba A Yi Komai Ba” (Nothing New).
Jamila explores the abuse faced by women who do not bear male children.
In the story, Uwani faces a lot of discrimination, verbal abuse, and rejection from her husband and his relatives because of her inability to conceive a male child.
Second runner up is “A Juri Zwa Rafi” by Jamila Babayo.
“A Juri Zuwa Rafi” (It’s a matter of time) is the story of Aisha, who is raped by a wealthy man in the society.
Being vulnerable, the community is unanimous in advising that the issue should be buried if only to protect the poor girl but her mother, Laraba, vows to fight for her daughter’s rights.