Repository logo

Survival of indigenous tailoring among the Hausa of Kano City, Nigeria



Change log


Pokrant, Robert Jerzy 


This study examines the changing characteristics and present-day organisation of Hausa tailoring, one of the many crafts which have been practised by the Hausa-speaking peoples of northern Nigeria for centuries • . The first part of the study provides a brief account 'of the origins and development of Hausaland up to the end of the 19th century. It concentrates on showing the central role played by craft production, including tailoring, in he economic life of the Hausa. Particular attention is paid to Kano City and Kano Emirate which together formed the industrial and commercial centres of Hausaland under the Sokoto Caliphate during the 19th century when the region reached the peak of its pre-colonial economic and political development. This is followed by an assessment of the impact upon selected Hausa crafts in Kano Emirate, namely, weaving, dyeing, blacksmithing and tailoring~ __ . of the incorporation of Hausaland into the Nigerian State. It is argued, together with supporting evidence, that of these crafts, tailoring has been relativ~ly successful in adapting to new economic and political influences brought about by incorporation. The final part of the study examines tailoring in modern Kano City, particularly in three wards, each of which has a different historical and contemporary association with tailoring. Topics covered include the highly fragmented and small-scale nature of tailoring, the types and sources of raw materials and instruments of production used, methods of labour recruitment and training, forms of production within tailoring workshops, markets served, characteristics of the tailoring labour force, traditions of tailoring, and the spatial distribution of tailoring activities. Case studies of workshops and workshop heads are provided in order to highlight the ways in which tailors organise their productive activities and the problems they face in maintaining and expanding their operations. The study concludes with a discussion of worker consciousness, and the obstacles to its development, among tailoring employees in one of the three wards intensively studied.





Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge