Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II paying homage to mother during a visit to Babban Daki (Photo Credit: Maigaskiya Photography)

Every culture comes with their acceptable belief, values and symbols passed down from one generation to another through communication and effectual demonstration of those norms.

The historic Kano Kingdom is no exception when it comes to the display and celebration of their roots, culture, people and pride more importantly in the matters of the Royal household. Paying homage to the Queen Mother by the Emir whenever he returns from an official journey or visit outside the Kingdom is a strong traditional practice started during the reign of Emir Muhammad Sanusi I between 1953-1963. The traditional homage was rekindled by the imcumbent Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi).

 A visit by the Emir to his mother’s home known traditionally as Zuwa Babban Daki (literally meaning “Going to the Great Room”) is one of the priceless tradition inherited and practiced by generations of Emirs. Though the event does not have the grandeur of traditional Durbar, it is none the less celebrated with cultural pomp and pageantry that creates awesome scenery.

Babban Daki is a few kilometres away from the Emir of Kano’s palace and a traditional home for the mother of the Emir till the end of his reign

The Emir adorned in colorful royal attire, seated and riding a beautifully decorated horse with his subjects standing by to hail him on his way to Babban Daki. He is accompanied by an entourage from Emirate’s traditional Council comprising the Wambai, Tafida and other numerous title holders with their horses and flags.

The safety and security of the Emir and his entourage is guaranteed by the traditional Royal Guards and protocol officials. The Algaita (trumpet) sound fills the air, capturing every by-standers’ mind in an exciting and sensational way even from distance.

The colorful parade magically pulls more crowds toward the beats of special royal Tambari (drums). Cheers and joyful waves from the people add the flavor of happiness to the gentle and majestic procession to the home of the Emir’s Mother.

On arrival, the Emir’s mother will welcome her son, with her own entourage of helpers and praise-singers. The Emir alights from his horse, proceeds into her quarters and respectfully goes down, bending at the knees, as a sign of deep reverence and respect to greet her, and seek her blessings. She will warmly welcome him, pray for his wellbeing, while food and drinks are being served to her visitors including the Emir.

The Emir’s entourage will then wait for him as he spends time with his mother discussing issues, receiving advice, words of wisdom and prayers for long life and prosperity during his reign. The accompanying cultural entertainment groups remain outside the compound blowing Algaita, beating heavily on the Tambari, as praise-singers continue to shout praises of the Emir and his mother.

The Emir of Kano usually spend the whole day at his Mother’s home; departing only late in the evening, before dusk. The Royal drums and trumpets continue to accompany him back to the Palace Gates. Another tradition of a multiple gun powder salute, by the Palace Guards and Warriors will fill the air, announcing the Emir’s return to the palace to round off an eventful day.

Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II on traditional horse back
Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II on traditional horse back

By: Aisha Saleh