THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE GWANDARA PEOPLE OF KARSHI TOWN

 

THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE GWANDARA PEOPLE OF KARSHI TOWN

The indigenous Gwandara ethnic tribe that has taken up residence in the Karshi area of the FCT are descendant from a west Chadic language in sub-Saharan Africa. The history of the Gwandara people from all available sources confirmed that during the fourteenth century when Islam was first introduced in Kano, the younger brother of the ruling chief refused to convert to the new religion and instead preferred to practice animism (a religious belief that gives reverence to animals as having spiritual powers. The Gwandaras traditional belief stipulates that the hyena loves and respects the Gwandaras with the really spiritual Gwandara men being able to turn and take the shape of a hyena).

After several threats that bothered around converting or be enslaved the younger brother took his followers and travelled southward to Gwagwa. Continuous Muslim attacks and intimidation necessitated yet another migration farther down south.

The name of the chief’s younger brother who refused to convert to Islam was Gwandara. The Gwandara finally settled in the Jukun territory during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from whence they began to disperse to several other parts of present day Nigeria.

Currently aside from Karshi town the Gwandara people can be found in several other parts of the FCT, Nasarawa, Kano, Niger, Kaduna, Taraba, Kwara, Kogi, Plateau and Katsina states.  


THE CULTURE OF THE GWANDARA PEOPLE OF KARSHI.

The Gwandara people of Karshi town are some of the most notable and the most influential Gwandara people in Nigeria with Karshi being the first recognized Gwandara town by the Federal government in Nigeria as well as the first Gwandara town to receive the highest traditional status of a first class Emir. The former governor of Nasarawa state Umaru Tanko Al-Makura is also the first Gwandara person to become a governor in Nigeria after the era of Alhaji  Muhammadu Danladi Gwandara who was sworn in as Deputy Governor of plateau state on October 1st, 1979. Karshi town also boosts of notable entrepreneurs and moneybags such as Alhaji Yakubu Saidu owner of Masarki Nigeria Limited and other political elites.

One of the most important cultural heritage of the Gwandaras is the Gwandara language. In Karshi town the Gwandara  language can be heard at almost every nook and cranny of the town with an estimated 45% of non-indigenes able to speak and understand the Gwandara language fluently. Despite landmark strides in modernization and technology the Gwandara language has managed to survive through the ages and the language is still spoken widely, most especially in Karshi town. The Gwandaras are also a peace loving tribe having opened their town to strangers and have been co-existing side by side without any occurrence of community or ethno tribal war been recorded since the inception of the town. The Gwandara in Karshi town have very entertaining traditional dancing patterns which covers different yearly social gathering. This love for dancing that the gwandaras have also reflected in their name in that they are sometimes called not just Gwandara but “Gwandar√°-rawa.”. The addition of “rawa” describes “a people who prefer to dance.” 

THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE GWANDARA PEOPLE OF KARSHI TOWN


The Gwandaras also have a masquerade society, traditional Boxing locally called “ HYPERLINK "https://gwadeca.org.ng/cultural-heritages/" Dembeh nidi”  different and varied cultural attires, a farming system called “Geya” , marital processes and very potent traditional medicine.

Another sacrosanct feature of the Gwandara’s cultural heritage is religion. With the eventual conquest of northern Nigeria by the uthman dan fodio jihad the present day Gwandara are an estimated 90% Muslim/Islamic population. The town having a sharia court and several high rising mosques. Just like everything about the Gwandara they take their religion quite seriously, this can be seen in their full appellation from Gwandara to being “Gwandarawa-da-Sallah” meaning a “people dance to Islamic norms”.

Overall the Gwandara people of Karshi town are not only peace loving but also very passionate about their culture and heritage. Karshi town can be found in the Abuja municipal area council (AMAC) along the Nyanya- Karshi road just after Orozo town.


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