21. RE-THINKING KANO MARKET LITERATURE FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION OF MATERNAL AND NEO-NATAL HEALTHCARE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA: A MEDITATION ON SISTER IYAMI JALO’S ‘RANAR BAKIN CIKI’
Edward Ugbada Adie, Ph. D
Department of Theatre, Film and Carnival Studies,
University of Calabar.
Yusuf Ninzim Shamagana
Department of Theatre and Performing Arts,
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Popular literature consists of writings or literary pieces that have gained acceptance by a large spectrum of audience in the society. It includes those writings intended for the masses, and that can be distinguished from artistic literature in that it is designed primarily to entertain. In Nigeria, discourse on popular literature often features the semi-literary texts of Hubert Ogunde’s theatre in the South-West, the Onitsha Market Literature in the South-East, and the Kano Market Literature (also known in Hausa Language as Adabin Kasuwar Kano or Litattafan Soyayya) in Northern Nigeria. Kano Market Literature rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s, entertaining its readers with many titles mostly woven around fascinating love stories. Owing to the popularity of these books today, many have been adapted into films while some go to radio programmes where they are also read, mainly to reach out to unlettered audience across northern Nigeria. This paper meditates on the attempt by BBC Media Action Nigeria and Society for Family Health (SFH) to leverage the popularity of this literature in communicating maternal and neo-natal health care in Northern Nigeria, a region with the highest recorded cases of maternal and infant mortality in the country. Given the peculiarity of the region (patriarchal, largely conservative, with many unlettered people), the study seeks to answer questions such as: How can popular literature, whose readers are mostly women, engender desired behaviour change on maternal and neo-natal health care in Northern Nigeria where decisions in households are usually taken by men? Can this literature build the self-efficacy of women enough to adopt and sustain desired behaviour and attitudes towards maternal and neo-natal health care? How can the waves (potentials/popularity) of Kano market literature be further harnessed for effective communication for development in Northern Nigeria? The illustration for the study is Sister Iyami Jalo’s Ranar Bakin Ciki.