Transvestite Trial the Talk of Nigeria
News, September 1, 2004
By Amina Waziri, BBC correspondent in Kano
A transvestite faces trial in September in a case
which has become a big talking point in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.
issue of sexual orientation is a controversial one in Africa and the existence
of transvestites usually gets little attention.
But 19-year-old Abubakar Hamza has become famous with
posters of him dressed in women’s clothes selling well among male admirers.
He is charged with living and dressing as a woman in the
first case of its kind in this conservative city.
But what is shocking for many Nigerians is that he lived
as a young woman in the heart of a family for seven years, without his secret
The Adamu family, who have now themselves become
celebrities in Kano, were shocked when they discovered Hamza was a
Until his arrest they fondly called him Kawajo which in
the Fulani language means friend.
The mother, Hajiya, says she treated him like her own
“In fact whenever they quarrelled I always took his
side because I never liked seeing him upset. I was so fond of him he was just
like a daughter,” she says.
During his stay with the family, Hamza spent a lot of
time with her teenage daughters but they did not suspect he was not a girl,
despite the fact that he always dressed and undressed in the bathroom.
“He never allowed people to touch him in a playful
manner,” says teenager Umma.
Alhaji Adamu, whom I met sitting in front of his house,
told me that even though Hamza had not engaged in any indecent behaviour he
still deserved to be punished “because he had broken Islamic laws”.
Abubakar Hamza is currently in Kano Central Prison
awaiting trial where he will answer charges under Section 9 of the
Prostitution and Immoral Acts Law.
If he is found guilty he will get either one year in
prison or be asked to pay a fine equivalent to $80.
Many in Kano are talking about this story and are eagerly
awaiting for the trial due on 16 September—if only to get a glimpse of the
famous young transvestite.
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