Male praise-singers in Accra: In the company of women

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5 Scopus citations


In 1957 M. G. Smith published a seminal paper on the role of the male praise-singer, the maroki, among Northern Nigeria's Muslim Hausa. My paper explores the role of the maroki in the diaspora community of Sabon Zongo in Accra. While Accra's zongo communities are considerably diluted in their Islamic orthodoxy, they are nonetheless distinctly Islamic in tone, witness the mosques, Qur'ānic schools, flowing robes and diaphanous prayer veils, and a general cultural orientation that is strongly influenced by the Hausa and distinct from Christian southern Ghana. Among the Hausa, and those zongo institutions particularly affected by Hausa custom, there is also a vestigial separation between the worlds of men and women. This article considers the maroki as an ungendered actor. It suggests that, through his attendance at Hausa and zongo women's occasions, he has become their client, regards them as his patrons and conjoins their world with that of men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-600
Number of pages20
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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