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Tsumburbura: His Sacred Place


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(Hausa/Nigeria)

Tsumburbura is God.

The earliest inhabitants of Kano were descendants of a Gaya smith named Kano who had come to the Dala hill in search of ironstone.

Dala was of unknown origin, but came to this land, and built a house on Dala hill. He and his wives lived there, and had seven children—four boys and three girls. Garageje, his oldest child, was the grandfather of Nuzame, the father of Barbushe, chief of the Kano people, a giant who killed elephants with a stick and carried them for miles on his head. By his wonders and sorcery, and the power he gained over his brothers, he became chief and lord over them. He was high priest to the god, Tsumburbura (Tsunburburai), whose shrine was a tree called Shamus, surrounded by a wall. No one could enter the shrine but Barbushe: whoever else entered died. Barbushe descended from Dala two days a year, when mystic rites were performed in a grove. People came from all over to participate in the ceremonies, meeting at the foot of Dala hill at evening. When darkness came, Barbushe emerged with his drummers. He prayed to Tsumburbura, and the people responded. Then Barbushe descended, and the people went with him to the god. And when they drew near, they sacrificed what they had brought with them—a black dog, a black fowl, a black goat. Barbushe entered the sacred palace—he alone—saying that he was the heir of Dala and, like it or not, the people had to follow him. The people agreed to follow him. They marched around the sacred place until dawn, then rose, naked, and ate. Then Barbushe came and told them what would happen during the coming year.

Subjects: Religion.


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