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Korau Discovers the Hidden Strength of His Rival


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(Hausa/Niger, Nigeria)

Korau was a mythic hero.

The first Katsina dynasty was founded by Kumayo, a grandson of the legendary Bayajida of Daura fame; he ruled at Durbi ta Kusheyi near Mani. The last chief of Kumayo's dynasty was Sanau. About the middle of the thirteenth century, a malam of western extraction, Korau, came from Yandoto, an ancient capital near modern Chafe, and killed Sanau, establishing a new dynasty.

Korau was a professional wrestler and a former playmate of Sanau. He knew that Sanau was unequaled at wrestling owing to a certain charm that he wore around his waist. Though not of royal blood, Korau was a titleholder. He was invited by Sanau to a feast. Having persuaded Sanau's wife to steal this charm, Korau challenged him to a wrestling bout. The contest occurred at the traditional place, in the vicinity of the tamarind tree known as Bawada, which stood on the site of the residence of the reigning king. According to custom, the king was honor bound to accept such a challenge. Robbed of his hidden strength, Sanau was quickly thrown and, while he was on the ground, Korau stabbed him to death. The short sword with which Korau murdered Sanau is preserved among the insignia of Katsina, where it is known as Gajere. Some historians say that Korau lived about 1260. See also: Bayajida.

Subjects: Religion.


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