The Zankam people of Kagoro in kaduna State, Nigeria

The Zankam people of Kagoro in kaduna State, Nigeria

 Culture is the beliefs, values and lifestyles of a particular group of people or society. Now culture in every sense of the word is believed to be the building block of a people, most times it is but other times, it is not. It is appalling but not absurd to say that the very essence of a people could turn out to be their water loo as was the case of the Zankam people of Kagoro in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The Zankam people for a time wore the armor of strength and greatness, and every other village in Kagoro land feared and revered them, now this was good, only the reason for the adoration and admiration they got had a quirk and that was the fact that the Zankam people had the largest number of male children, its absurd right, I know but not when the times and era that they lived is been considered, this dates back to the early 80s and I dare say that misogyny was at its peak so it is understandable why having more male children was considered a reason to be presumed better that their contemporaries at the time. The people believed it was the reason their land flourished and they grew as the other villages often sent their daughters into marriage with the Zankam people as everyone wanted to be associated with them, although when you think about who wouldn’t, they were a great people.

The thing about greatness is that it can be deceptive and something about it comes with the aura of pride and arrogance and except one threads carefully, they are bound to fall victim or like in the case of the Zankam people, become predators. These people not only fell into the deception that they were a better village but they went on to bully the other villages, cultivated their lands, ransacked their store houses, expanded their territory and a lot more havoc they wrecked, this went on and on for years, they ruled until eventually people began to see them as gods. The men were practically worshiped, it was imbibed into their culture, a certain reverence were given to the men of the land thereby giving them even more momentum to carry on with their deeds. The women were regarded as nothing and shoved around at will, they were only useful to give birth to more males and for a time that was the case and as mysterious as it sounds, they had more and more male children which the people continued to consider as the greatest blessing of all. No one stopped to wonder why they had fewer females and as little as they thought about that, they thought even less about what that would cost them eventually, no one cared because “of what use were women anyways right?” or so they thought.

It is sad to say but sometimes, strong men usually are not the wisest because if they were then the people would have seen what was about to befall them and they would have remembered that pride goes before a fall. Eventually the other villages had to come together to figure out a way to get out of the tyranny of the Zankam people and they did, they used their only weakness against them. It was no news that they had more men which meant less women and since the Zankam people depended on the other villages to produce wives for them, they knew what they had to do and they did.

The zankam society were excluded from the Kagoro affairs and most especially from their women, so no more wives, and slowly but eventually, fewer and fewer children. What a tragedy it was for the lesser they became, the weaker they got because in the end their strength was in their number and once they had it no more, they became vulnerable and weak. The land got smaller and less productive, they had no one to cultivate it until they were forced to vacate their own land, what a tragedy it was. Not only did they leave their land, they also left divided into small groups into various lands, no more was their pride or greatness, they left it all behind in Zankam.

Growing up, I often wondered why no one knew where Zankam was, they knew Kagoro alright but just not Zankam, some even argued that there wasn’t a place in Kagoro land, for a time I felt intimidated, after a while I even felt doubt if I truly knew my roots after a while I stopped telling people where I came from, i would rather say I was from Fadan daji which was where my ancestors settled and lived the rest of their lives. I went on with the charade for a while until I realized that though the people left, the land still stands and will remain for me and a lot of others like me to learn and tell the story throughout history and like i said earlier, culture is the essence and beauty of a people but sometimes we need to know that culture does not make us a people, it only edifies us, so the sooner we know this, the better.

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