Sani Abdulrazak’s The Adventure of Ayya is a captivating fictional short story that follows the life of a courageous Baggara woman named Ayya. She hails from a town called Fage, which is home to three distinct clans – the Baggara people, Kanuri, and Fulani – each with its customs and beliefs. Ayya is fascinated by the Kanuri culture and can fluently speak their language.
In Fage, it is customary for girls to get married before turning eighteen, and their fathers are responsible for finding suitable husbands. As part of this tradition, Ayya’s father, Muhammad Kwayyis, arranged marriages for his daughters. However, Ayya’s new life seemed daunting as she had to move far away from her hometown, adapt to a new culture, and live in knitted huts with her husband.
Despite her initial fears, Ayya’s father reassured her that distance and migration are integral to their people’s heritage. With his words of encouragement, she embarked on a journey to Zaria, a major city in Northern Nigeria with a rich history and diverse population. Ayya faced challenges in communicating as she only spoke Kanuri and Shuwa Arab, but she eagerly learned the basics of Hausa and their customs with the help of relatives.
Ayya’s experiences in Zaria ignited her passion for education, particularly English language literacy, believing it to be a powerful tool for positive change. However, her husband, Qasim, held traditional beliefs and was apprehensive about her newfound enthusiasm for Western education, fearing conversion to Christianity. Their marriage became strained, leading to their eventual separation.
As a divorcee, Ayya found solace in her cousin cousin’s, Ar-rufa’i, and persevered to achieve her dreams. She later married Yahaya Mahmud Daja, a man with a strong military background, and moved to Chad Republic with him. Ayya raised her three children with love and determination, empowering them to fulfill her dreams and aspirations.
Throughout her life, Ayya faced societal backlash for challenging traditional gender roles and pursuing education. Nonetheless, she persisted, and her dreams of changing the narrative for women were eventually fulfilled through the achievements of her grandchildren.
“The Adventure of Ayya” is a touching and heartwarming tale that sheds light on the struggles faced by women in traditional societies, where the pursuit of education and independence is often met with resistance. Despite the obstacles, Ayya’s story serves as an inspiring example of courage and resilience, demonstrating the power of determination in shaping one’s destiny.