In the town of Daura, Katsina State, is located the Kusugu Well, whose history is tied to the origin of the Hausa kingdoms.
Hausa lore has it that the Kusugu Well was discovered in the 7th century, during the reign of Queen Daurama of Daura. In want of water, the queen shifted her city-state capital from Tsohon Birni to Daura. Soon the community found that because of a great snake in the well, called Sarki, people could only fetch water on Fridays.
Years later, a man called Bayajjida (also known as Abu Yazid), a prince of Baghdad, visited Daura. He had split with his father, Abdullahi, and left the middle east for the Sudan, venturing southwest until he got to Borno, where he married the princess Magira.
When Bayajidda reached Hausaland, he went to the blacksmiths of Kano’s Dala Hills, who made him a sword. It was with this sword that, on entering Daura and finding he could not water his horse, he slew the snake in the well.
In gratitude, Queen Daurama offered Bayajjida half of Daura, but he asked for her hand in marriage instead.
Their son, Bawo, would become king of Daura and father six children who became progenitors of six of the seven original Hausa city-states: Kazaure of Daura; Gunguma of Zazzau; Duma of Gobir; Bagauda of Kano; Zauna Kogi of Rano; and Kumayau of Katsina. The seventh state, Biram, is traced to Bayajjida’s older son with Princess Magira of Borno: Garin Gabas. These seven states are known as the Hausa Bakwai.
In Daura today, Bayajjida’s snake slaying sword and his wife Magajiya’s drums are part of the royal regalia in the palace of the Emir.
The Kisugu Well, reported to have never dried up and to have cured ailments, is a major attraction for tourists with interest in Hausa history.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture: art, business, entertainment, activism, health, food. He is a writer, journalist, curator, media consultant, former academic, and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Open Country Mag, a new online platform covering African literature. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians" by Avance Media. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.