The name I have carried since my childhood is Zaynab Aliyu Gwarzo. My father, Malam Ali Mai Almajirai, hails from GWARZO town in Kano state. Malam Ali is renowned in and around Gwarzo village for his ability to provide remedies for ailments associated with supernatural beings, using verses from the Holy Qur’an.

In addition to his healing abilities, Malam Ali is a teacher with thousands of students under his tutelage. He is also a respected farmer and shepherd, owning five large farms and various animals, including farm chickens, ducks, ostriches, goats, and more.

Malan Ali is known for his integrity and generosity, and his reputation extends throughout Gwarzo. Anyone seeking his house, irrespective of their location in Gwarzo, only needs to mention “Mai Almajirai,” and they will be directed to his residence.

Malam Ali has three wives, but only one of them, Inna Dubu, has been blessed with children. She gave birth to Umar-Faruk, the only surviving child. Her previous nine children, known as “wabi,” all passed away in infancy.

Malam Ali’s wives include Inna Dubu, Inna Rakiya, Innata, and Rabi. The last wife, Buzuwa, is my mother, and I was raised under her care.

Innata was brought to Malam Ali’s house for medical treatment. Malam Ali is known to assist various people from all over the Hausa region and beyond, including businessmen, politicians, intellectuals, and senior government officials. He often offers his assistance in solving their problems, which leads to a continuous flow of visitors seeking his help. Our house frequently hosts individuals afflicted with a variety of illnesses, ranging from supernatural afflictions to common ailments. This explains the presence of numerous modern cars parked outside our home.

One such visitor was Alhaji Sani Buzu, a prominent leather trader and politician from Yamai in Niger. He had come to Kano specifically to seek a cure for his daughter, who was suffering from a supernatural ailment. Alhaji Sani had never visited Kano before and had no acquaintances in the city, except for Rabi’s side of the family. His love for his two daughters, Rabi and Nuratu, was immeasurable, especially since their mother had passed away, leaving him a widower who had not remarried.

He brought his daughters to Kano in the hope of finding a cure. Malam Ali did not treat the mentally ill, but he could alleviate conditions related to supernatural beings using verses from the Holy Qur’an. Rabi and Nuratu stayed at Malam Ali’s house for two weeks and were successfully treated. Thankfully, their condition was minor, and Malam Ali was able to cure them quickly.

Overjoyed with gratitude, Alhaji Sani offered Malam Ali anything he desired, as long as it was within his capacity to provide. When Malam Ali made an unexpected request – that Alhaji Sani marry Rabi – it left him stunned. He had never anticipated such a request, and it took him by surprise.

Alhaji Sani’s mind raced. Rabi and Nuratu, who had never left Yamai and did not even know the word “zo” in Hausa, were inseparable. Their bond was incredibly strong. Nonetheless, Rabi surprisingly agreed to Malam Ali’s proposal. This decision was astonishing, especially considering that Malam Ali had given birth to Rabi as part of triplets.

Rabi made it clear that she would not leave her sister Nuratu behind, and Malam Ali pledged to care for Nuratu as he would for Umar-Faruk, until her marriage.

Alhaji Sani departed after agreeing to pay the dowry for Rabi. This marked his farewell to his beloved daughters, Rabi and Nuratu. On his way back to Niger, he carried the weight of sharing the news of Rabi’s marriage with his mother and siblings, a decision they were not aware of nor consented to. It was a journey into the unknown, in a foreign land they had never imagined themselves in. Tragically, their plane crashed into a mountain before reaching Niamey, and there were no survivors.

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