A 29-year-old Nigeria teacher has won the 2018 edition of the BBC Hausa Story Writing Contest for Women.
Safiyya Jibril‘s story “Ya Mace” translated ‘The Girl-Child’ emerged winner of the contest, ahead of “Sunanmu Daya” (Birds of a Feather) by Sakina Lawal and “Zaina” by Bilkisu Muhammad Abubakar
The Winning Story
In the story, Halima, the protagonist, is expected by her family to be married at fourteen, but when at seventeen she remains unmarried, she comes under immense pressure from her family and society. Halima is forced to marry Garba who she barely even knows. The marriage is marred by physical and verbal abuse until she decides to leave.
Leaving her husband exposes her to all kinds of hardship. Her family rejects her and would have nothing to do with a divorcee – she was considered a disgrace to the family. She is left to fend for herself, doing menial jobs and suffering humiliation from those around her, including her landlord.
The story highlights the ordeal of the girl child in rural Northern Nigeria.
One of the judges, Bilkisu Yusuf Ali, said:
“Safiyya’s story was selected from a shortlist of 25 because from the beginning to the end, it takes the reader to a climax brimming with tension, suspense and conflict.”
Safiyya Jibril was elated at the news:
“When I was told about victory, I looked at my phone again to make sure I was not dreaming. Words cannot express how overwhelmed I am.”
The BBC Hausa Story Writing Contest for Women started three years ago, and each year the platform is made available to female writers to tell their stories.
Jimeh Saleh, an editor on the BBC Hausa Service, said:
“The competition has truly lived up to its billing of giving women a voice in a male-dominated society. The quality of entries has improved remarkably over the last two years and women are becoming more daring in the themes they tackle.”
Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, head of language services at BBC World Service, expresses satisfaction with this year’s competition:
“We are delighted about this year’s competition and the active participation of women in telling their stories to the world. This year’s winner courageously brings to fore a challenge many women face and it’s great that her work is getting the recognition it deserves.”
Listeners will hear the winning story on the BBC Hausa service soon. The prize will be presented to the winner next month.
Well done, Safiyya Jibril!