The story ‘Hakkina’ (‘My Right’) by Aishatu Dalil has won this year’s BBC Hausa short story contest for women.
Aishatu an 18-year-old, 100 level student of English and French said she began writing in 2018 and has a passion for writing about women’s issues.
Her story ‘Hakkina’ tells the story of a young woman, Fatima, who is raped by her stepfather and is threatened by her mother not to tell anyone about the abuse. She locks Fatima in a room despite the injuries she sustained during the assault.
To Fatima’s mother, silencing her daughter not only covers for her husband but also ‘protects’ her daughter from the stigma faced by victims of rape in the Hausa society.
In an Interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, the excited winner said her mother was her motivation and inspiration.
“My mother was my motivation. I like to write short stories but when this opportunity came, my mother and elder sister insisted that I put it up for the competition, and I did.
“When I got a call from the BBC that my story was among the winning stories I was ecstatic. I quickly got down on my knees to give thanks to Allah. I was not expecting to win as I’m a new writer and the competition is known to attract great writers. My family is very proud of me and winning the competition is one of my biggest achievements.”
Miss Dalil is currently studying English and French at the Umaru Musa University, Katsina.
The first runner-up is a story written by Nana Aicha Hamissou Abdoulaye.
Titled ‘Butulci’ (Betrayal), it is about a young couple whose new marriage and pregnancy is marred by the sudden horror of kidnapping. The title of the story stems from the events that led up to the kidnapping and the unexpected revelation of the person involved.
She also told PREMIUM TIMES that she was excited when she got the call from BBC Hausa.
“I was in Maradi, Niger when I put up for the competition and when I got the call from BBC that I made the final stage, I could not hide my joy because I put up for the competition last year but did not make it to the final.”
Aicha is a masters degree student from Aboubakar International University in Maradi, Niger Republic.
The second runner-up is ‘Ramat’ by Zulaihat Alhassan.
Titled after the protagonist, ‘Ramat’ is a revered policewoman whose husband is also in the police force. She is caught in a family scandal where she has to choose between her only son and her job.
Miss Zulaihat is in her final year at the College of Health, Tsafe, Zamfara State.
The BBC Hausa women’s short story contest was introduced to give female writers a platform to tell and share their stories.
Editor of the Hausa Service, Aliyu Tanko says: “As the competition enters its sixth year, it is satisfying to know that women have accepted it as an avenue to stir conversations in the region through their writing. We’ve seen set after set of remarkable writers emerge from Hikayata competition and this is truly what we’ve always aimed to achieve.”
Lead judge Dr Hauwa Bugaje said: “This year we have seen an absolute shift in the thematic preoccupation of these stories. It is obvious that women writers in northern Nigeria are becoming aware day by day, of the most pressing issues faced by women in the region. The themes centre around rape, domestic violence, kidnappings, and career choices. The characters this year have been created to represent strong, bold women.”
The winner got a cash reward of $2000 and the runners up were awarded $1000 and $500 respectively.
The occasion which held at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja was attended by the governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Badaru, among other invited guests.
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