Nana Asma’u (1793–1864) was a prolific Muslim scholar, poet, historian, and educator whose legacy in Nigeria and America continues today.
Daughters are still named after her, her poems still move people profoundly, and the memory of her remains a vital source of inspiration and hope. Her example as an educator is still followed: the system she set up in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, for the education of rural women, has not only survived in its homeland through the traumas of the colonisation of West Africa and the establishment of the modern state of Nigeria but is also being revived and adapted elsewhere, notably among Muslim women in the United States.
This book, richly illustrated with maps and photographs, recounts Asma'u's upbringing and critical junctures in her life from several sources, mostly unpublished: her own firsthand experiences presented in her writings, the accounts of contemporaries who witnessed her endeavours, and the memoirs of European travellers. For the account of her legacy the authors have depended on extensive field studies in Nigeria, and documents pertaining to the efforts of women in Nigeria and the United States, to develop a collective voice and establish their rights as women and Muslims in today's societies.
Beverley Mack is an associate professor of African studies at the University of Kansas.
Jean Boyd is former principal research fellow of the Sokoto History Bureau and research associate of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
Kube Publishing, hardback, 240 pages.
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