A 29-year old secondary school teacher, Safiyya Jibril has won this year’s BBC Hausa Story Writing Contest for Women. Her story, “Ya Mace or The Girl-Child” was reportedly the best among a shortlist of 25.
“Ya Mace or The Girl-Child” takes on the ordeal of Halima, who going by family tradition, is expected to get married at about 14 years old, but is unmarried at 17. She comes under severe family and societal pressure, and then she got pregnant for a man called Garba, someone she barely knows.
Shortly after the honeymoon, Halima became the subject of constant physical and verbal abuse and the marriage ended in divorce, but her father would not accept her back – he beats her and tells other family members not to take her in.
Halima decided to take control of her life by living on her own instead of going back to Garba. She rents a room and takes up menial jobs to support herself, but the moment her landlord discovers she is single, he decided to evict her from his house.
Safiyya is presently studying for her Master’s degree in Soil Science at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
“When I was told about victory, I looked at my phone again to make sure I was not dreaming. Words cannot express how overwhelmed I am,” she told BBC