Rabeh Zubair in Central Sudan According to a Hausa Story
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This article is an analysis of Rabeh Zubair's career as presented in the second part of a Hausa narrative by certain cajj AEmed which is often considered as the first Hausa drama. The narrative is based on oral tradition, significance of which as a historical source in Africa is now quite generally recognised and accepted. The story of Rabeh is seen from an African perspective, giving his balanced portrait, which differs considerably from an European image of him as a bloodthirsty tyrant. In 1982 Rabeh attacked Baghirmi which began his conquests in the Lake Chad area and finally led to the defeat of the Borno kingdom. For seven years he was governing Borno from his headquarters in Dikwa, thinking even about turning his forces against the Sokoto Caliphate. When Britain, France and Germany agreed to divide Borno between them, in 1900 Rabeh was defeated and killed by French at the battle of Kusseri on the Shari river. The Hausa text points to the fact that Rabeh Zubair is by no means an easy figure to assess.
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