A young Nigerian girl, Aishatu Musa Dalil has won the British Broadcasting Corporation Hausa short story contest for women with a story on the travails of a girl who was a victim of sexual violence within the family.
According to a release from the BBC Hausa Service, Aishatu, an 18 years old and first year university student of English and French won the contest with her story titled, “Hakkina” which is translated “My Right.”
“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. In fact, 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,” the BBC said.
“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 news 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.
“The second runner-up is ‘Ramat’ by Zulaihat Alhassan. Titled after the protagonist, ‘Ramat’ is a revered police woman whose husband is also in the police. She is caught in a family scandal where she has to choose between her only son and her job,” the organisers of the contest added.
The BBC Hausa women’s short story contest was introduced to give female writers a platform to tell and share their stories.
The Editor of the Hausa Service, Aliyu Tanko, said, “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.”
“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 lead judge, Dr Hauwa Bugaje, said.
The winner, Aishatu, in her remarks noted that she was not expecting to win as she was a new writer and the competition was known to attract great writers.
The winner and runners up were awarded their prizes on Friday, November 26, 2021.