It is stated that the Bajju migrated from Zamfara, to Bauchi and the Jos Plateau.Then eventually to Chawai and settled in Dibiyi, (popularly referred to as Kurmin Bi), in the Zonkwa chiefdom of the present Zangon Kataf LGA of Kaduna state. The father of the Bajju tribe, Baranzan is believed to be of Niger and Cameroonian descent. Oral tradition claims that he named the place of his settlement ‘Kazzu’ from which ‘Kajju’ is derived.
The language is referred to as ‘Jju’, the tribe is called ‘Kajju’ and the people are referred to as ‘’Bajju’. However, because the Hausa populace that intermingled with them found it hard to pronounce ‘Kajju’, they referred to them as the ‘Kaje-a name that the average Bajju person is not proud of.
Food: The Bajju traditional food is usually made from corn flour, natively called ‘detuk’ (or ‘tuk’ for short). That is,‘tuwo. Though there are varieties of soups, a favorite for the natives is called ’Jajju’ or karkashi; an excessively ‘drawy’ soup made from a special vegetable. There is also the ‘jok’ada’, or ‘waken gida’ (meaning ‘local beans’), which is a variety of brown beans.
Dressing: Traditionally and in times past, the bajju men wore ‘Bante’, which only covers the groins and leaves the back side exposed; a traditional male G-string. It was made of animal skin or wool. The men carried a bag or usually, hung a blanket-like clothing, or carried their hunting and farming implements on the shoulder. The women however, dressed a bit more elaborately; covering the chest and the waistline down to the lower thighs with animal skin, or wool. It should be noted however, that missionary activities and civilization has influenced even the dress orientation now.
Festivals: There is the annual Bajju day; one in which all the sons and daughters of the Bajju tribe assemble to celebrate the previous year. It is accompanied with the traditional Batram music group or band playing, and the traditional samba dancers. There is another festival which is exclusive for men, referred to as the swanakan; this is intended to celebrate the farming year.
Wedding Rites and Marriage: In the past, it was quite simple to marry amongst the Bajju tribe. Simply find the girl you are interested in, irrespective her status-single or married. Just kidnap her, take her home, and send a notification to her parents or ‘to whom it may concern; that you are married to her. However, there is a more diplomatic four-stage approach, as outlined by DanjumaHabu:
- Hwun stage: Reserving a bride-whether in the womb or already born for a specific prospective suitor. Usually, the groom-to-be’s family show interest by taking a valuable gift to the prospective in-laws.
- Bridal Gift Stage: Here, a ceremonial hoe or an artifact is taken for the bride as a ‘mark’ or ‘shaida’,a proof that she is taken; and this is accompanied by a gift for the bride’s mother; usually a goat or fowl; a mark of thanksgiving to the mother for raising her.
- Formal Announcement Stage: Here,a form of party is organized at the girl’s house. She is thereafter expected to return the party items to the intended groom’s house, as well as stay for a few days so that his family can assess her before returning.
- Final Transfer Stage: This is still a kidnap plot, but with the knowledge of her folks. She is ‘kidnapped’ to her husband’s house by his friends or village boys. A failure in this abduction plot will result to shame for the boy’s family, while a successful ploy is rewarded with gifts.
Interesting myths and superstitions amongst the Bajju tribe
The following are some of the myths and superstitions amongst the Bajju tribe, though most have been eroded:
- For children:
- No eating of eggs or eat meat offered in other households.
- No going out at midday lest, they collect forbidden food.
- For women:
- No eating of eggs, for they would be eating their own children.
- No consumption of chicken and any form of winged animal.
- No eating of any animal heads.
- No cooking or farming activities 7 days after child birth
- No hitting the walls with hands or feet. Lest they would be inviting the gods.
- No hitting of other humans with brooms, especially men or else, they would be sweeping away all his charms, including the potency of his ‘manhood’.
- No sugar-cane eating by pregnant women or else, their babies will become too fat or obese.
- For men:
- No half shaving of hair, or else, a spirit would come, clear the hair and cause the man to go mad.
- No eating of food prepared by a women on her period. This will expose them to bad luck in hunting or cause blindness.
- No sharing of secrets of the ancestors’ cult with women.
- General Taboos:
- No whistling at night, for it invites spirits.
- No blowing of hot food to cool it.
- No killing of spirit snakes; for it is a possibly the spirit of a sleeping or sick person.
- No whistling in the house of a hunter, it weakens his charms.
- No talking while eating; EVERY greeting must be ignored till after eating.
- No answering of calls at night; it might be ‘death’ calling.
- No stepping over arrows etc.
- General Rules:
- Men must be buried facing east (direction of Bajju Origin) while women must be buried facing west.
- Those who fell off a height and died or were shot must be buried at the incidence site and without a ceremony.
- Women who die in childbirth must be buried behind the house.
- Elders must pour a few drops of water for the ancestors before drinking it.
- Small pox signified the person was a wizard, and not deserving of a burial when dead.
The paramount leader is referred to as the Agwam Bajju.
Featured Image Source: Afrikan History