Excitement as Hausa International Book and Arts Festival (HIBAF) nears in Kaduna


By Salim Yunusa

The First ever Hausa International Book and Arts Festival (HIBAF) is set to debut in Kaduna on 21st to 23rd October, 2021.
The central theme of the 1st edition of the Hausa International Book and Arts Festival (HIBAF) 2021 is ‘Spaces’.

In a statement released by Open Arts, they said, “This edition will explore the spaces in between; spaces of origin of people and language; spaces of being and becoming; spaces of our stories; the multiplicity of spaces of our humanity; how we embrace the layers of spaces within our identities in literature and creativity. In the spaces of HIBAF, it will explore the origins of Hausa literary spaces; converse and discuss notions of gender, identity, culture, and politics. Spaces are governed by cultural stereotypes, conventions, customs, clothing, and literature. The aim of HIBAF is to associate the fictional space with the practical space using language as a code to model space, define it and arrange it, to create safe spaces that allow for creative risk, a space for the delivery, performance and reawakening of identity.

The 1st edition of Hausa International Book and Arts Festival will be a healing space for Hausa readers and writers, an introspective space, a space fully saturated in Hausa stories, poems, performances and will be held as a hybrid of virtual and physical engagements from October 21 to October 23, 2021 in Kaduna, Nigeria,” the organisers said.

Among the partners of Open Arts to breathe life to the festival are Bristol University England, Poetic Wednesdays Initiative, British Council, Katsina State Government, Ahmadu Bello University among others.

The festival has been generating positive reactions on social media, as the lineup for the guests and performers promises to bring forth a great event.


Some of the activities lined up include a Hausa creative writing workshop, a Durbar procession, film screenings, open mic poetry and panel discussions, among other activities.

The curator of the festival and founder of Open Arts, Sada Malumfashi, said about the reactions that, “It’s been so heartwarming. Not surprising for me, because Hausa as a language is underrated especially with regards to its literary output. HIBAF is an eye opener to the potentials of reading and writing in Hausa.”

Muhsin Ibrahim, a film critic who teaches Hausa at the University of Koln said, “The festival is a welcome development in, especially, a society like ours, which does not value arts and literature as it should. So, I would argue that it’s long overdue. But, it’s never too late and, I believe, others shall – should, in fact – step in and organise similar events in other places. Hopefully, this is but only the beginning of something good and glorious. I say kudos and best wishes to the organisers.”

Idris Yana, a HOD from Federal University of Dutse and a PhD candidate in the University of Bristol, said “I’m excited to see how this festival will turn out. This festival is on course to make history as the pioneer event that will steer the course of Hausa language as it relates to modern ideas. The contributions of writers and other creatives in Hausa is what makes the festival important and needed now more than ever.

Information about the festival can be accessed from the organization’s website at www.openarts.org

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