3. Source Materials: Part I. Interviews conducted in Ilorin in 1975 by Otolorin Adesiyun as part of a project organised by Professor Paul E. Lovejoy; also re-translations of 6 of the Adesiyun interviews organised by Ann O’Hear

[Section  |     1     |     2     |     3     |         |     5     |     6     |     7     |     8     |     9     |     10     |     11     [Catalogue]

3.1 Introduction to the interviews conducted in Ilorin in 1975 by Otolorin Adesiyun.

3.2 The Oral Data Index: Summary translations of interviews conducted in Ilorin in 1975 by Otolorin Adesiyun.

3.3 Re-translations of the cassette tapes of 6 of the interviews conducted by Otolorin Adesiyun in Ilorin in 1975

3.4 Notes on the condition of the Adesiyun cassettes

3.1 Introduction to the interviews conducted in Ilorin in 1975 by Otolorin Adesiyun as part of a project organised by Professor Paul E. Lovejoy in collaboration with Professor Jan Hogendorn. This introduction includes background information on the project, plus essential copyright/citation information.

 

In 1975, Professor Paul E. Lovejoy was teaching at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. In collaboration with Professor Jan Hogendorn, he organised a large-scale project to record oral interviews on historical topics. His student research assistants conducted multiple interviews in many parts of northern Nigeria, covering many aspects of economic and social history. Professor Lovejoy trained the student assistants and provided questionnaires to be used as a guide in structuring the interviews. He also visited the assistants in the field, to follow up the training, and he accompanied each one on at least one interview session. Otolorin Adesiyun was Professor Lovejoy’s research assistant in Ilorin. The 1975 interviews conducted in Ilorin were recorded on cassettes and in summary translations by Otolorin Adesiyun. The summary translations are titled the “Oral Data Index.”  The interviews were conducted mostly with elderly weavers in Ilorin. They ranged over a number of topics, with questions in particular relating to cloth production and trade, in which slaves had been extensively used. Professor Lovejoy explains that “because slavery was recognised as being far more important than previously thought in the historical work that had been done across all of northern Nigeria, [researching] the role of slaves in different sectors of the economy and society would be a useful way of uncovering new information” (personal communication). Both the Oral Data Index and the fuller re-translations of six of the interviews, which were made later, using the cassettes, are reproduced here in their entirety.

I thank Professor Lovejoy not only for encouraging me to study slavery in Ilorin, but also for providing me with copies of the summary interview transcripts in the “Oral Data Index.” This was the first series of interviews containing a substantial amount of material on slavery in Ilorin that I was able to access, and it became a major influence on the direction of my future research.

 

Included in the present collection are the following: 3.1 (this file), containing introductory information plus copyright/citation information;  3.2, containing the summary translations of the interviews recorded in the Oral Data Index, by kind permission of Paul E. Lovejoy; and 3.3, containing the re-translations of the cassette tapes of six of the 1975 interviews, organised by myself (Ann O’Hear) and made by my research assistants, Suleiman Ajao (1 interview) and Busayo Simeon (5 interviews) in consultation with me. The re-translations are fuller than the summaries provided in the Oral Data Index.

 

For a detailed note on the Oral Data Index, please see 3.2.

 

Note on my research assistants: Suleiman Ajao and Busayo Simeon also assisted me in other research activities (see later sections of this catalogue). Suleiman Ajao, a resident of Okelele area of Ilorin Town, was at the time of my research activities a junior member of staff at Kwara State College of Technology. I found him to be a good linguist with an engaging personality. I trained him in interviewing, and I employed him both to translate for me and also to conduct interviews when I was not available to do so.  Busayo Joseph Simeon attended Kwara State College of Technology and graduated from the University of Ilorin. He is a native of northeast Yorubaland but has spent much of his life in Ilorin; he was particularly helpful in the re-translation of several of the 1975 interviews.

 

Note on citations:

 

All interviews conducted in Ilorin in 1975 by Otolorin Adesiyun (including the re-translations made in 1981 at Ann O’Hear’s request) should be cited thus: “Interview by O. Adesiyun with [full details of interviewee] (The series of interviews conducted by O. Adesiyun in 1975 was organised by Paul E. Lovejoy, and the results deposited in the Lovejoy Collection, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, and in the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University, Toronto, Canada).”

 

Citations of the re-translations of  these interviews should also include the name of the re-translator and the date of the re-translation.

 

The re-translations of interviews included here in the Dr. Ann O’Hear Archive are also to be found in digitised form in the “Additions to the Lovejoy-Adesiyun Collection” by Ann O’Hear (© Ann O’Hear), on deposit in the Harriet Tubman Institute Digital Archive, York University, Toronto, Canada. Readers citing the digitised versions should include full details of the interviews and follow the citation instructions given in the “Additions.” Canadian fair use rules apply to the “Additions to the Lovejoy-Adesiyun Collection,” Harriet Tubman Institute Digital Archive.

 

 

 

3.2 The Oral Data Index: Summary translations of interviews conducted in Ilorin in 1975 by Otolorin Adesiyun, as part of a project organised by Professor Paul E. Lovejoy in collaboration with Professor Jan Hogendorn. The summary translations in the Oral Data Base were made by the interviewer, Otolorin Adesiyun, and are included here by kind permission of Paul E. Lovejoy.

 

Note on the Oral Data Index (ODI):

 

The ODI set I have is incomplete. It does not contain Adesiyun tape numbers 2 or 8, though they are included on the cassette tapes of the interviews, which Professor Lovejoy also kindly sent to me (Ann O’Hear), so I was able to have numbers 2 and 8 included in the re-translations that my research assistants made from the cassettes in consultation with me (for which, see 3.3). There is no Oral Data Index (ODI) translation for number 5, which seems from the cassette to be a first interview with Alh. Y.K. Olabintan, prior to the interview with Alh. Olabintan which was recorded as number 11.  In addition, there are some discrepancies in numbering between the Oral Data Index and the tapes.

 

The ODI set I have consists of copies of the original typescript, which are now quite faded and sometimes difficult to read. I therefore transcribed the data onto a computer file in August 2020. I silently corrected a number of obvious typographical errors and mis-spellings and made the punctuation more consistent, to improve readability. Other corrections and suggestions, notifications, or observations are given in square brackets within or following the word or words concerned. Words omitted from the text are also supplied in square brackets, where this seems advisable to aid clarity.

 

The interviewer’s surname is spelled variously in the original typescript of the ODI. Here, I have made it consistent as Adesiyun. I have replaced the abbreviated forename in the typescript with the full form: Otolorin. Please note that the spellings of names of informants in the re-translations of Adesiyun interviews (see 3.3) may be different from those given in the ODI.

 

Section I of each interview recorded in the ODI contains reference data. The dates of interviews are given in the format  day/month/year. I have omitted the names of other people who were present at the interview apart from the interviewee, as these names were often difficult to decipher. Section II is a list of possible topics for the interviews. Here, I have listed only the topics that are actually covered in each specific interview. The text of the interviews follows the introductory sections.

 

 

Tape Number 1

 

 I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER: 1

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ABDUL KAREEM                  DATE 9/7/1975

PLACE: SINGINI QUARTER                                              LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: ILORIN                                                      AGE OF INFORMANT OVER 100

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: WEAVING/SPINNING [and trade in textiles]

OTHER: THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN

 

PERSONAL DATA

Q. What is your name? Abdul Kareem.  Q. What is the name of your father?  A. Suleimana.

Q. Where were you born?  A. I was born at Ilorin here. 

Q. Do you remember the reign of the king during which you were born?  A. Aliu.

Q. What was your work before you became old?  A. Weaving was my sole work.  Q. Did you learn any other job with it?  A. No. 

Q. Can you remember your father’s work?  A. He was a farmer.

Q. Did you inherit any farm land from your late father?  A. No.

Q. Can you remember the place where your father was born?  A. He was born at Ilorin.

Q. Can you remember from where your family came?  A. From Kobayi near Kishi in Oyo North.

Q. Can you remember what brought them from Kobayi?  A. When the people from the North came with Islam, we decided to join them at the time when Ilorin population was growing under Alfa Alimi.

Q. From where did Alfa Alimi come?  A. From Sokoto.

Q. What was the work of your parents at Kishi?  A. Farming but they changed to weaving at Ilorin.

Q. Did the people who came from Kishi area have any identity mark?  A. They have three marks (III).

Q. Where are your relatives now?  A. Ailara compound. Lemonu Imole etc., all in Ilorin.

Q. What is your mother’s name?  A. Barikisu.

Q. Can you remember your mother’s trade?  A. She was a weaver and dyer (dyeing).

Q. Can you remember where your mother came from?  A. Aluko in Ilorin.

Q. Can you remember the man who taught Islam religion?  A. I met my father in Islam and he initiated me [in]to it.

Q. Can you remember your father’s religion before he left Kobaye [sic] for Ilorin?  A. He was a muslim from where he migrated.

TEXTILE[S]

Q. What are the types of clothes you weave at Ilorin especially before the coming of the Europeans?  A. Waka, Arikinla, Iyermoje, Popo elepo, Petuje, Etu, Karojo [Karoje?], Arojalasa, Sanyon, Wulu, Fanfun.

Q. Can you remember the raw materials you used for the production of these materials?  A. Slaves got from Kano. Cotton were [was] grown in villages near Ilorin where they were [it was] spun and sold to us.

Q. Who were those that undertook the spinning of the cotton?  A. Women, some women also took part in weaving.

Q. Were these women under you?  A. They worked separately on their own.

Q. Did you have (apprentice) people learning the skill under you?  A. There were many of them who learned, became free and stood independent on their own.

Q. What was your relationship with these learners?  A. Relatives, but some also learnt it as a part time job.

Q. Did they pay you money for the skill they were learning under you?  A. We didn’t get money from relatives but we charged non-relatives depending on period [length of time during which they were learning the skill of weaving?].

Q. Who were those that undertook the dyeing?  A. Women specialized in it.

Q. Were they your relations?  A. No.

Q. Explain the marketing of the cloths.  A. We took them to Lagos for sale, Ijebu Ode etc. on foot but we used to stop on our way in Oyo, Ogbomosho etc. Some come from the Yoruba areas to buy in Ilorin.

Q. Can you explain the credit facilities in the trade?  A. We received money immediately for our products. No credit even in buying of local cotton and in the dyeing sector.

Q. Which type of currency were you using at the time?  A. Cowrie (Owo eyo), the monies were always carried by the slaves after we have sold our products in the Southern Yoruba areas of Ijebu, Lagos etc. Slaves also helped in carrying the textile products to the southern markets in Yoruba land and Onitsha in the Ibo land. When the Europeans came they later introduced coin money.

Q. In which type of cloth did  the textile workers in Ilorin specialize?  A. Alaro. (Always in great demand from Lagos) before the Europeans introduced another type of cotton.

Q. Can you remember any boom period in textile market?  A. It was always in great demand.

SLAVERY

Q. From where did you get your slaves?  A. They bought them from Kano market and brought them to Gambari market here at Ilorin from where we purchased ours for our trade. Gambari market was a slave market in Ilorin.

Q. Can you remember where the descendants of the slaves are today in Ilorin?  A. Some have gone where[as?] some have been assimilated into compounds.

Q. Can you explain the changes that you experienced in textile industry when the Europeans came?  A. We began to mix the European (new) cotton wool [sic] with our own local one in producing textile materials. Later we neglected our local cotton to [sic] totally.

Q. Did any authority charge money on good[s] you produced?  A. No.

Q. Who are the  people called Gambari in Ilorin here?  A. They came from the north (Hausaland), some were slaves who refused to go to their homes after slave trade had been eradicated and they settled at Gambari area in Ilorin. Some came on their own.

Q. What was their work when they came from Hausaland?  A. Their women were spinning cotton. Their men were butchers, cow dealers, fura sellers, i.e. milk sellers. They sold rice, burnt sere [cooked suya meat]. All the people called Gambari in Ilorin are Hausa descendants.

Q. Have they got any settlement here at Ilorin?  A. They own Ita Ajia up to Amilnybe [Amilegbe?] near [the] maternity in Ilorin.

Q. Do you differentiate between those called Hausa or Gambari and Fulani?  A. Fulani came from Sokoto where[as] Hausa came from Kano but they live side by side in Ilorin.

Q. Who are ruling or on the throne today in Ilorin?  A. Fulani people.

Q. Do they [the Gambari] speak Hausa till today?  A. Yes, they speak Hausa.

Q. What were you using slaves for and where in Ilorin did they use them?  A. They used them on the farm to sell goods, agric[ultural] goods. Some married them, some traded with them.

Q. Have the slaves got special marks on their face?  A. They had different types brought from Hausa land. Some have no marks. Most people traded on [in] slaves.

Q. Did you feed your slaves?  A. Yes, but some were allowed to stay on their own. We even allowed some to get married and they gave birth to children who are living today.

Q. Did you enslave yourselves in Ilorin?  A. No. Only during the wars with other Yoruba towns.

 

Tape Number 2

 

 I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 2

PERSON INTERVIEWED: MUSTAPHA MESUNA         DATE 10/7/1975

PLACE: ADANA COMPOUND ILORIN                            LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT 95 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILE INDUSTRY [and trade in textiles]

TRADE [in livestock]

OTHER: SLAVERY

 

PERSONAL DATA

Q. What is your name?  A. Mustapha Mesuna. Q. Can you remember your father’s name?  A. Abubakare.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Here in Ilorin in Adana compound.

Q. Whose reign were you born [in]?  A. Momo[’s reign].

Q.  What was your profession before you started to grow old?  A. Weaving, cloth weaving. Q. Did you learn any other job?  A. No.

Q. Can you remember your father’s job?  A. Textile weaving.

Q. Did you inherit any farm?  A. No.

Q. From where did your father move to Ilorin?  A. Oyo Ile.

Q. Can you remember where your father was born?  A. Yes. He was born in Okon relugba in Oyo.

Q. Can you remember what made your father to move from Oyo Ile to Ilorin?  A. Because of Islam.

Q. What was his religion at Oyo Ile before he moved to Ilorin?  A. He was a pagan.

Q. Did the people who moved from Oyo Ile have a special mark?  A. Yes: seven marks (Koyin).

Q. Where are your other relations now?  A. They all near died. [sic] You can find them in Aigboro compound and Olorombo compound.

Q. Can you remember the name of the father of your mother?

Q. From where did she [he?] come?  A. I don’t know.

Q. What is your mother’s name?  A. Ayisatu.

Q. From where did she come?  A. Singini compound.

Q. From where did Singini (compound) people come?  A. Oyo area in Kobayi.

Q. What was your mother’s work before she died?  A. Cloth weaving.

TEXTILE INDUSTRY

Q. What are the types of clothes you weave before the coming of the Europeans?  A. White cloth; Fu, Etu, Sanyan.

Q. From where did you get the cotton before the Europeans came?  A. They were [It was] plant[ed] here in Ilorin and the nearby villages, Oko Ilorin.

Q. Who were those planting the cotton on the farm?  A. Slaves.

Q. From where did they bring the slaves?  A. In Yoruba land during the wars.

Q. Who are those spinning the cotton?  A. Slaves, male slaves worked on the farms. While females spun the cotton.

Q. Can you remember [a] few towns [from w]here the slaves were brought?  A. Aiyede, Lokoja.

Q. What was the position of the slaves spinning the cotton?  A. They were all under their lords who fed them. They were not autonomous.

Q. Did you have those learning in the textile industries?  A. People came from Iseyin, Ogbomosho, Ibadan to learn the job, i.e. weaving.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing the cloths?  A. The head of the textile industry usually plant[ed] leaves used for dyeing on his farm, and slaves helped to process it and turn it to coloured liquid to [sentence unfinished]

Q. Were those dyeing the cloth under the leader or lord in the textile industry?  A. Yes, all the slaves performing different works, i.e. those spinning, working on the farms, and dyeing. He thought others who were not slaves but the leader owned the materials.

Q. Who taught you how to weave?  A. My father’s slaves taught me weaving.

Q. Please, explain the marketing of the finished cloths.  A. Some came to buy them for sale in their own towns, e.g. from Ibadan, Lagos, Iseyin and Oyo, Lokoja, Onitsha, Bida, Borgu and little from Kano.

Q. Who are those carrying the cloth to other towns for sale?  A. Slaves carried them while free men followed them but properly armed.

Q. Please, explain the credit facilities in textile industry.  A. We did not sell in [on] credit in any form. The principle was if you have no money you don’t get the required services or goods. Even some paid in advance for cloths they wanted to buy from us.

Q. Which kind of cloth did you specialize in producing in Ilorin?  A. Reke type.

Q. Can you remember the period [when] you experienced boom in textile trade?  A. During Momo[’s] reign and Sule[’s] when there was peace.

Q. What were the differences brought about by the advent of the Europeans in Ilorin?  A. They brought another type of cotton called elewe. But they went with our own cotton which they changed to the new type they started to sell to us.

Q. Did any authority charge money or tax on any textile product?  A. No, even before the  coming of the Europeans.

Q. Which type of currency were you using before the Europeans came?  A. Owo Eyo, i.e. Cowrie.

Q. How did you always bring the bulky money home from the markets in places like Onitsha, Lagos etc.?  A. Slaves brought them [it] home for us.

SLAVERY

Q. How did you get the slaves mentioned in the sale and production of textiles?  A. In wars, i.e. war captives.

Q. Do you have slave settlements here which you can locate today? In Ilorin?  A. Yes, but we must not mention them today.

Q. Who are those called Gambari in Ilorin?  A. Those who came from the North, i.e. Arewa.

Q. What brought them here?  A. They followed Alimi (Jihadist).

Q. Which work are they known for?  A. Government designs [meaning unclear] or clothes design.

Q. What is the relationship between slaves and their lords?  A. They worked for the lords and the lords fed them although some are [were] allowed to marry and their children were used as slaves, also saraki family is well known for slavery, i.e. buying and capturing slaves.

Q. Did you have slave market[s] in Ilorin before the Europeans came?  A. Yes, Oja Oba and Gambari.

Q. Were they capturing slaves in Ilorin?  A. No: they captured [slaves] in external wars.

 

COMMERCE

Q. Have you undertaken any commercial activity?  A. Yes, I was a herdsman before.

Q. Where did you go to purchase the goats or [other?] animals?  A. They brought them from the North to Ilorin market where we bought them and took them to other [parts of] Yoruba land as far [away] as Lagos.

Q. With whom did you start this trade?  A. They are all dead now.

Q. How did you start herding?  A. From friends.

Q. How many of your [friends] join[ed] to herd?  A. About six, but if it was for in the South we used to be about 16 in number,

Q. How did you distribute your profit?  A. Each has [had] got his own animals which he sold himself. We did not put our profit together.

Q. How long did a trip to [the] South take you?  A. To Ibadan on fro [and from?] it took us about 20 days.

Q. Did you have stopping places?  A. Yes: Ibudo egba, Tapa, Oyo, Olorunda, Ibadan.

Q. Did you use slaves [to carry cloth?] to the markets in the places mentioned above?  A. We used grand children of our fathers’ slaves.

Q. What later happened to your partners in herding?  A. They later left herding for textile making.

Q. Did you have free men helping you to herd? [no answer recorded]

Q. Did you have a leader in herding?  A. No.

Q. Did you sell on credit?  A. No.

Q. How was the saraki family mentioned under slavery [important in?] the town?  A. They were warriors who caught many slaves. They befriended Alimi.

Q. How do you differentiate Fulani, Gambari?  A. Gambari have marks while Fulani have known [none].

 

Tape Number 3


I. REFERENCE DATA

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 3

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALFA YAHAYA                     DATE 11/7/1975

PLACE: ILE SEFUTU[?]                                                       LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: ILE SEFUTU[?]                                          AGE OF INFORMANT 85 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES

[Trade in medicines]  

OTHER: SLAVERY (VERY LITTLE)

 

PERSONAL DATA

Q. What is your name?  A. Alfa Yahaya.

Q. Can you remember the name of your father?  A. I cannot remember.

Q. What was your work?  A. I used to sell cloths and cloth weaving.

Q. What was your father’s work before he died?  A. I do not know.

Q. Can you remember the place from which your father came to Ilorin?  A. No.

Q. Since when have you started weaving?  A. I cannot know but I had started many years ago.Q. What were the types of cloths you were weaving before the Europeans came? A. White cloths and Kutupu (kigipa), Alaro. Etu and Sanyan but not widespread.

 Q. What are the raw materials and instruments used in weaving the cloths?  A. Cotton of different colours.

Q. Where did you obtain the cotton before the coming of the Europeans?  A. In Ilorin area.

Q. Who were those spinning the cotton?  A. Old women in Ilorin.

Q. Did you have people learning weaving under you?  A. No.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing the cloth? A. The cotton [threads] were coloured before weaving.

Q. Do you know where they obtain the dye?  A. No.

Q. Explain the marketing of the cloths.  A. We sold them here in Ilorin market and people came from Ogbomosho to purchase them, but some took them to some Yoruba towns for sale.

Q. Did you know anybody who used to take his own cloths to other towns for sale?  A. No.

Q. Any credit facility in the marketing of textile material or in the industry generally?  A. Nothing like that.

Q. What type of cloth did the people of Ilorin specialise [in]?  A. I cannot say.

Q. Can you remember any period of trade boom in textile industry?  A. Only God knows.

Q. Can you explain changes in the textile industry when the Europeans came?  A. I did not notice it much. But we changed the cotton and started to mix them, i.e. new cotton and Ilorin cotton.

Q. Did the authority [authorities] use to charge money or tax on the cloths you made?  A. No.

SLAVERY

Q. Can you remember and explain the use of slavery [slaves] in weaving and marketing of textile materials?  A. I cannot say.

Q. Any slave market here at Ilorin before the  Europeans came?  A. I do not know.

NOTE  My informant refused to go further with me on the issue of slavery because it is a sensitive one in Ilorin.

COMMERCE

Q. You one time mentioned that you were Dr. of medicine before. Were you working together with other friends?  A. I started with my father.

Q. Did you always combine to do it?  A. No.

Q. How long did it take you to return?  A. I cannot exactly remember, but we used to spend few days and slept on our way to Ibadan.

My informant claimed certain secrets are in the trade and he would not discuss it with me further.

Dabara: Means medicine.

 

 

 

 

Tape Number 4

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 4

PERSON INTERVIEWED: BABANKUDI                         DATE 11/7/1975

PLACE: OLUKODO (COMPOUND)                                  LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT 80 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES

TRADE: TEXTILES

OTHER: SLAVERY (VERY LITTLE), THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN

 

PERSONAL DATA

Q. What is  your name?  A. Babankudi.

Q. Can you remember your father’s name?  A. Jimoh.

Q. Can you remember your grand father’s name?  A. I cannot know.

Q. Where were you born?  A. This compound, Olukodo, in Ilorin.

Q. Can you remember the reign of the king [in which] you were born?  A. Suleiman’s reign.

Q. What was your work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Did you learn any other job with the trade or profession?  A. Medicine making.

Q. What was your work before he died?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Since when have you started cloth weaving?  A. About 50 years [ago].

Q. Were you once a farmer?  A. No.

Q. Where was your father born?  A.  Olukodo compound here in Ilorin.

Q. Can you remember from where your family moved to this Ilorin?  A. Fedegbo Ile from Kanji [sic] area.

Q. Are they Yoruba speaking in Fedegbo Ile?  A. Yes.

Q. Can you account for what brought them to Ilorin?  A. Islamic religion.

Q. What was their work at Fedegbo Ile before they came to Ilorin?  A. [the response is “No”—maybe an answer to another question, which has not been recorded in the typescript]

Q. Have the people who came from Fedegbo Ile got any distinctive work? [“work” may be a typographical error—the question may have actually referred to a facial “mark”] A. No.

Q. Can you remember the places where your relatives are in Ilorin today?  A. No.

Q. What is your mother’s name?  A. Gogo.

Q. What was her work before she died?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you remember the place from where she came?  A. No.

Q. What is your religion?  A. Islam.

Q. Can you remember the man who initiated you [in]to the religion?  A. Alfa Aliyu.

TEXTILE INDUSTRY

Q. What types of cloths were you weaving at Ilorin especially before the coming of the Europeans?  A. Kijipa.

Q. What were the instruments and the raw materials used in your textile industry?  A. Onnu, Okeke Keke Agbonrin Okuta, Okuku [punctuation as in the typescript].

Q. Where did you get the cotton?  A. Oke Oje in Ilorin, king’s market ofrer [after] they must have been spun by women living at Ilorin [or?] in places like Alapa, Megida, Igbeti.

Q. Did you have people learning the profession under you?  A. No.

Q. How did you learn your own?  A. My father taught me.

Q. Who were those responsible for the dyeing of the cloths?  A. Women from villages around Ilorin have always dyed the cotton before we bought them [it] for weaving.

Q. Where did they get the raw materials for dyeing the cloths?  A. I don’t know.

Q. Explain the marketing of these cloths ofrer [after] they have been woven.  A. We used to sell them at Oja Oba in Ilorin. People came from Ogbomosho to buy, also from the North. Hausa people also came to buy cloths like Petu je, Iya moje etc.

Q. Were there people carrying the finished cloths to other towns to sell?  A. Only Ogbomosho people came down to buy.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in textile making and marketing.  A. Nothing like credit.

Q. Can you remember a period before the Europeans came that you experienced trade boom in textile industry?  A. I can[’t] state this specifically, it is a long time [ago].

Q. What changes did you notice in textile industry when the Europeans came?  A. They changed our cotton and we started to mix their cotton and our local cotton, but later our people stopped planting theirs [i.e., our own?] and we some how neglected our own local cotton for the European type. Although you can still get our own.

Q. You mentioned Kano cotton, how did you get Kano cotton here in Ilorin?  A. Hausa people brought them [it] to Ilorin for sale at Oja Oba.

Q. Did authority [the authorities] charge any money on your finished cloths?  A. No: but we paid only poll tax.

SLAVERY

Q. Have they been using slaves here at Ilorin before?  A. I learnt so.

Q. From where did they buy them?  A. From Hausa land.

Q. Did you know any slave settlement in Ilorin?  A. No.

NOTE  He refused to answer other questions on slavery because it is a sensitive issue.

COMMERCE

Q. You said you pray for people and received money. Have you made this idea your profession?  A. Yes.

Q. Did you go to other towns to do the work?  A. No.

Q. Were you working with other people?  A. No.

Q. Did you receive money?  A. Yes.

Q. Which work did you learn first?  A. Learning of Quran, and later weaving.

Q. Which one paid you better?  A. Weaving.

Q. What did your counterpart[s] do?  A. I don’t know.

Q. Who are those called Gambari in Ilorin? A. Hausas.

Q. Do you differentiate between Gambari and Fulani?  A. Yes.

Q. Have Gambaris got special marks?  A. No.

Q. Do you know Alimi?  A. Yes, he is from Hausa land.

Q. How did Gambari people get here in Ilorin?  A. They followed Alimi the Jihadist also the Fulanis.

 

 

 

 

Tape Number 6

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 6

PERSON INTERVIEWED:  ALFA SHEU                          DATE 12/7/1975

PLACE: ALOWA COMPOUND                                          LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT 80 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILE[S] [including trade]

OTHER: SLAVERY, THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [brief]

 

PERSONAL DATA; TEXTILES

Q. What is your name? A.  Alfa Sheu.

Q. Can you remember your father’s name?  A. Yes: Alfa Lemonu Sanusi.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Ilorin, in Sayidun Alawaye.

Q. What is your work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you remember the place from where your father moved to Ilorin.  A.  Awaye near Iseyin.

Q. What are the people of Iseyin known for?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. What was your father’s work before he came to Iseyin? [should be “before he came to Ilorin”?]  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Since when have you started weaving?  A. I have stood on my own since 1931. I went to weave at Ibadan that year.

Q. Can you name the types of cloth you wove at Ibadan?  A. Ajanbule, Olona, Reke, Eleya, Sanyeri, Etu, Alari, Topola.

Q. What are the instruments you use for weaving?  A. Asa, Oko, Omu, Agbonsin, Okoko, Okeke.

Q. Where did you get your cotton before the Europeans came?  A. Ilorin and its suburbs, and from Hausa land (Red and yellow). and slaves were brought from Hausa land also. “Abawa” is got from Ilorin.

Q. Who were the people responsible for spinning the cotton?  A. Also those learning did the spinning; women did the spinning mostly and women also wove.

Q. Where did you buy the cotton?  A. They brought them [it] to the market where we did the purchasing. Cotton markets in Ilorin were Oloje, Oja Oba.

Q. Did you have people learning weaving under you?  A. Yes.

Q. Did they pay for learning or you paid them as masters?  A. Some were relations and you did not need to get money. I have taught some people who came from Ibadan, Onitsha, Offa, Oshogbo. I was the first man to bring cloth weaving business to this compound with different designs.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing the cloths?  A. They used to bring the dye from Oyo, North [or should this be “from Oyo North,” that is, from a district called Oyo North?] to Ilorin market where we purchased the leaves from which dye is extracted. We planted the leaves in Ilorin in those days. Igbeti was well known with [for] planting the dye leaving [leaves]. Our women undertook the dyeing of the cloths.

Q. Explain the marketing of the cloths.  A. We sold them at Ilorin market but some carried their own as far as Onitsha, Lagos, Ogbomosho, and Ibadan for sale. Rich men went out to the towns to sell the cloths.

Q. Were you at any occasion outside Ilorin to sell cloths?  A. Yes.

Q. When you went out, how long did it take you to travel to Ibadan [and] to come back?  A. It varied in [accordance with the] individual’s capability.

Q. Who were those responsible for carrying the cloths on your journey?  A. Some who had slaves used them, and those who had relatives made use of them for the journey.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in the marketing of the cloths.  A. When you borrow money in those days for something you would give your son to the lender to work for him until when you can return or repay the money. Iwofa system.

Q. Did you buy your cotton in [on] credit?  A. No. Unless you were a customer to the seller.

Q. Did those who went to sell out[side] Ilorin sell to the people in the towns like Ogbomosho etc. in [on] credit?  A. It was possible since they had customers.

Q. In which type[s] of cloths did Ilorin weavers specialise before the coming of the Europeans?  A. Etu, Sanyan, Petuje, Bula, all for marriage ceremony.

Q. Can you remember any period you experience trade boom in cloth weaving industry?  A. During rainy season when people can not weave and rivers were overflowing and it became impossible to cross the flooding rivers. Then prices of the cloths always went up.

Q. Can you explain the changes experienced in the textile industry after the Europeans had come?  A. We started to mix the local cotton and the new cotton introduced by the Europeans, e.g. Petuje types of cloth and Sonyan.

Q. Was any excise duty collected on the finished cloths before they were sold? Or were charges made before you enter the towns to sell them?  A. Nothing like the two questions. [No to both questions.]

Q. Did you have any cooperative society here before?  A. Yes; those who used to go and sell outside Ilorin had a cooperative or an association.

Q. What of weavers’ association?  A. No.                                                              

Q. What were the arrangements made in the cloths sellers’ association?  A. I don’t know. 

Q. Did they legislate on prices?  A. No.  Q. Did they contribute money?  A. Yes.

Q. How far is it true that the whites began to bring some people to Kalu’s place to learn weaving?  A. I do not know. My people used to go as far as Birni Keffi, Zaria to buy cotton before the introduction of lorries.

Q. Did you always go to the far North to sell cloths?  A. Yes, but that stopped later when the Hausas started to weave intensively themselves.

SLAVERY

Q. Have they ever used slaves here in Ilorin before?  A. Yes.

Q. In which trade[s] were they abundantly used?  A. Farming and other jobs where use of physical man power was need[ed]. They even learnt the work under the man. 

Q. Was the same system of on the job training common in the textile industry?  A. Yes, but it was later.

Q. From where did the slaves come?  A. From Hausa and Yoruba land, e.g. in war against [between] Offa and Ilorin.

Q. Explain the method of enslavement in the past.  A. In the war, i.e. those who were conquered or surrendered in a war.

Q. Were they used for other purposes?  A. Yes. Some were used as soldiers in other wars. Some slaves later in this Ilorin became warriors to be reckoned with, e.g. Dada.

Q. Any slave settlement in this Ilorin?  A. No.

Q. Were there special marks for slaves, to distinguish them?  A. No.

Q. Explain the relationship between a slave and his master.  A. In some [cases] very cordial if he was useful. They were even allowed to marry and bear children.

Q. Was there any slave market here in Ilorin before the coming of the Europeans?  A. Yes, Asunnara, Gambari, Oja Oba were slave markets in Ilorin.

Q. Were slaves captured around Ilorin?  A. Yes, from anywhere.

Q. Please, explain the major differences between Fulani and Gambari.  A. Language, places of origin. The Fulani migrated from Sokoto area, while Gambari came from Kano, Katsina.

Q. When the Hausas first came, which type of work were they doing?  A. Dilali [and] butcher men, while Fulani sell cattle and rear them.

Q. Enlighten me about Saraki family here.  A. Anybody who is a Chief is called Saraki.

Q. Who are those well known for slavery or capturing slaves?  A. Anybody who was organised and had able men could go on slave raiding.

 

 

Tape Number 7

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 7

PERSON INTERVIEWED:  AMINU SINHABA                DATE [not given]

PLACE: SAYODUN COMPOUND                                     LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT ABOUT 80 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILE[S] [including trade]

OTHER: [Slavery: very little]

 

PERSONAL DATA, TEXTILES, SLAVERY

Q. What is your name?  A. Aminu Sinhaba.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Sayodun Compound here in Ilorin.

Q. What is your work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. What of your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you remember from where your father came to Ilorin?  A. Sayodun.

Q. Since where [when] have you started to weave cloth?  A. I was initiated into it by my father since childhood.

Q. Explain the type of cloths you weave in Ilorin.  A. We weave Etu, Petuje, Sonyan, Alari, Iyamoje Male [?].

Q. What are the materials you used to weave the cloths?  A. Cotton, dye.

Q. What of instruments?  A. Okunkun,  Oke, Okeke etc.

Q. From where did you get your cotton in the pre-colonial era?  A. Omoda, Alanamu, Oloje, Agbayawo and Lore in the colonial period at “Osa [sic] Oba.” [do the first five places refer to the pre-colonial period, and only the last to the colonial period? They planted cotton in Ilorin and its area while old women spun the cotton, slaves also helped.

Q. From where did the slaves come?  A. Those captured in war and their children.

Q. Were the women spinning cotton under you weavers?  A. No.

Q. Did they come to learn this trade under you?  If yes, from where? A. Oyo, Ibadan, Iseyin etc. People come to learn the trade, i.e. cloth weaving, at Ilorin.

Q. Did they pay [fees] for [to] the masters?  A. No, but they worked under the man for a stipulated time. Some decided to stay permanently in Ilorin till today.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing cloths?  A. Old women.

Q. From where did they purchase the materials used for dyeing, like “Elu”?  A. Ilorin, Igbeti, Igboho.

Q. Explain the marketing of these products.  A. As prices were low it was almost free. [this must refer to materials used for dyeing]

Q. Did you go outside Ilorin to sell cloths?  A. Ogbomosho, Oyo, Kano, Bida.

Q. Who were responsible for carrying the cloths to the distant markets?  A. Slaves and professional carriers. Slaves were bought at Gambari market in Ilorin. They stopped on  their way to rest when going to the distant markets.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in the textile trade.  A. We borrowed ourselves [loaned each other?] money and sold cloths to those we knew in [on] credit.

Q. In which cloth did the Ilorin people specialise?  A. Etu, Sonya, Alari, used for various ceremonies.

Q. When was textile market [flourishing] or [at] which period did the textile market experience boom?  A. Any time there may be such [demand] for cloths from outside.

Q. Explain the change brought about by the advent of Europeans in the textile industry.  A. They introduced new cotton and nondurable  [sic] and stronger cotton. 

Q. Did you mix the various [types of] cotton?  i.e. African cotton and the European cotton?  A. Yes.

Q Did they collect custom[s] or excise?  A. With custom[s] it was indirect but we did not pay excise. With [As for] custom[s] we gave any [of] those who [were] gate men something.

Q. What is the difference between Fulani and Hausa?  A. Their work varies: the Fulani rear cattle and sell cattle while the Hausas were butcher men. Hausas also trade in kola and they travel as traders.
 

 

 

Tape Number 8

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 8

PERSON INTERVIEWED:  ALFA ABDUL LASISI          DATE 14/7/1975

PLACE: [not given here]                                                        LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT 60 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILE[S] [including trade]

OTHER: SLAVERY, THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN

 

PERSONAL DATA, TEXTILES, SLAVERY, THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN

Q. What is your name?  A. Abdul Lasisi.

Q. What was your father’s name?  A. Alfa Abdul Lasisi Aminu.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Pakata in Ilorin.

Q. What is your work?  A. Cloth weaving as handed over to me by my father.

Q. Can you remember the place from where your father moved to this place?  A. I did not ask him.

Q. Since when have you started weaving?  A. More than 40 years old [ago].

Q. From whom did you hear the story of textiles you wish to tell me today?  A. From my father.

Q. What was his work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Explain the cloths they weave at Ilorin.  A. Bulas the oldest cloth.

Q. What are the instruments you use for weaving?  A. Asa, Osu etc.

Q. From where did they obtain cotton in the pre-colonial period?  A. We planted them [it] in Ilorin, even my father was planting before.

Q. Have you ever heard that most weavers who had farm[s] had slaves?  A. Yes, even my father had some.

Q. From where did they get the slaves?  A. They bought them from some places in Ilorin, e.g. Ile Aroworeru was known for capturing slaves and selling to people.

Q. Did they (slaves) do other jobs apart from farming?  [no response recorded]

Q. Who were responsible for spinning the cotton?  A. My father had many wives who were [in] purdah; they were the people responsible for spinning (old women).

Q. Were slaves useful as spinners?  A. Yes, their women.

Q. Did your father have apprentice[s] under him?  A. Yes, even from far places like Ekiti, Oshogbo, Ibadan, Ijebu Ode etc. but not Iseyin. No one can say where weaving first started, either [whether] Ilorin or Iseyin.

Q. Did those learning cloths stay after freedom or go back?  A. Most went.

Q. Did they pay for learning under your father?  A. No, but they wove cloths for a stipulated time under them [him].

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing?  A. Old women.

Q. From where did they obtain leaves used for dyeing, i.e. Elu?  A. They planted them in farms.

Q. Who were those working on Elu farms?  A. Slaves: they also brought the leaves from Igbeti, Igboho.

Q. In which market did you purchase them in Ilorin?  A. Oloje market, even Pakata.

Q. Explain the marketing of the textile materials. They took them to Lokoja; it took them 30 days to go to Lokoja.

Q. Who were responsible for [carrying items to and from] outside markets?  A. Slaves and carriers; when they sold cloths in Ijebu, Eko, they brought [back] cowries from the South.

Q. What is the difference between a slave and an Iwofa?  A. An Iwofa was asked for [to] work for somebody who had lent out money to his parents, until the money was paid off; while a slave was caught at war, etc.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in textile marketing.  A. We sold in [on] credit to those we knew well.

Q. In which textile material did Ilorin weavers specialise?  A. Olona and Eleya.

Q. Did your people before the coming of Europeans go to places like Bida, Borgu to sell cloths?  A. We used Kano cotton; we went to Kano, Bida, etc. to purchase Kano cotton.

Q. Did they bring slaves?  A. Yes, the Tonbon.

Q. Who were the Gambaris?  A. Those who speak Hausa and came from Kano, Katsina. They are today butcher men in Ilorin and live in a quarter called Gambari, while the Fulani came from Sokoto area and deal with selling of cattle. Hausas were commercial men who brought [bought?] cattle and sold kolanut.

Q. How did the Gambaris reach Ilorin?  A. They came through Alfa Alimi.

Q. When did textile trade experience boom?  A. During festivals, muslim and pagan festivals; during rainy season there is also trade recession.

Q. What were the differences brought about by the coming of the Europeans in the textile industry?  A. New cotton was introduced and we could weave varieties like Eleya etc. New cotton is stronger and we sometimes mix them.

Q. Was there any system where you were made to pay custom[s] and excise?  A. We never paid excise in any form, but some said they paid customs in distant places, e.g. Oyo.

Q. Any cooperative of textile weavers?  A. No.

Q. What has been Kalu’s position among cloth weavers in Ilorin?  A. He is only an expert, no more, no less.

 

 

 

Tape Number 9

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 9

PERSON INTERVIEWED: AMUDA [?] YUSUF               DATE [not given]

PLACE: PAKATA                                                                 LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT 75 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILE[S]

TRADE IN TEXTILES

OTHER: [Slavery: brief], THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [brief]

 

PERSONAL DATA, TEXTILES, SLAVERY, THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN

Q. What is your name?  A. Yusuf.

Q. Can you remember your father’s name?  A. Musa.

Q. Can you remember where you were born?  A. Pakata.

Q. Can you remember your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can  you remember from where your father came?  A. No.

Q. What were the types of cloths you wove in the pre-colonial period?  A. Iyamoje, Bamboko, koko Olomoba, Iginla Mole.

Q. What are the instruments used for weaving?  A. Asa, Okoko, Agbonrin, Osu.

Q. Where did you obtain cotton in the pre-colonial period?  A. Ilorin area. Nobody planted it, I believe.

Q. How did they obtain cotton used as a raw material? They were [it was] brought to markets in Ilorin.

Q. Have you ever heard that your father had a cotton farm or people working under him? 

A. Everybody specialised in his own trade: farmers did not weave, spinners did not weave, and weavers did not spin.

Q. Did your father have slaves on his farms?  A. No, but I have heard that some did it.

Q. From which markets did they obtain  cotton?  A. Anywhere in Ilorin.

Q. Who were responsible for spinning?  A. The old women and some women slaves.

Q. Was there a set of people well known for spinning?  A. I have not heard of it.

Q. Were there apprentices under your father?  A. Yes, people came from Ibadan, Ijebu Ode, Ogbomosho.

Q. Did they pay for it?  A. People from Ilorin don’t pay since they are relatives, while others pay.

Q. Who are those who dye the cloths?  A. Women.

Q. From where did they get leaves [text unclear here] used for dyeing?  A. They brought them from Igbeti, Igboho, and Ilorin people also went to their farms to get.

Q. Explain the marketing of the textile materials when you finished weaving them.  A. They carried to Lagos for sale, and other people also came to purchase them, e.g. Ogbomosho [people].

Q. Did they go to the North to sell cloths?  A. Yes, they went even as far as to Onitsha.

Q. Who were responsible for carrying the cloths? A. Slaves and carriers, but most slaves were used in the farm.  They preferred the slaves on the farm than elsewhere.

Q. Did they have stopping places?  A. Yes, but we cannot remember their stopping places. We learnt they spent 17 days to and from Lagos.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in the textile industry.  A. They borrowed money but with interest; they sold materials in [on] credit.

Q. In which kind of cloth did Ilorin people specialise?  A. Iyamoje, Omole etc.

Q. When did textile trade experience boom?  A. Festival[s].

Q. What were difficulties in weaving?  A. Rain.

Q. What changes were brought about by the coming of the Europeans in the textile industry? 

A. A new set of stronger but less durable cotton was introduced.

Q. Was there any system for collection of excise and custom[s] duties?  A. No excise was collected.

Q. Any cooperative of weavers?  A. No.

Q. What about Kalu’s position in Ilorin among weavers?  A. He only know[s] styles and varieties more than anybody. But sellers travelled [travel] together till today to sell in distant places.  [this last sentence seems to answer a different question]

Q. How do you differentiate between Gambari and Fulani?  A. Gambari are carriers and traders, while Fulani sell cattle milk etc. They do not put on clothes.

Q. Any slave markets in Ilorin in the past?  A. I can’t say.

 

 

Tape Number 10

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 10

PERSON INTERVIEWED: SALIMONU (ALFA)              DATE 14/7/1975

PLACE: PAKATA ISALE OJA                                            LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT 90 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

SLAVE DEALING, [Slavery, Twentieth-century trade]

 

PERSONAL DATA, SLAVE DEALING, SLAVERY, TWENTIETH-CENTURY TRADE

Q. What is  your name?  A. Yahaya. [name here is different from that given in the Reference Data]

Q. What is your father’s name?  A. Usman.

Q. Can you remember where you were born?   A. Pakata Isale Oja.

Q. What was your work before you became old?  A. I was the first man to reach Ilorin with a motor lorry from Lagos. I was a commercialist.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. He was a cattle rearer and textile weaving. He was also a dealer in slaves with his brother. They brought slaves from the North to sell in Ilorin and cattle were also brought all along down to Lagos.

Q. From where did your father come to this Ilorin in the pre-colonial period?  A. Ikoyi near Ilorin. It takes a day[’s] journey.

Q. With whom did you start the trade?  A. I started at Lagos and when I [was] freed I came home as an engineer.

Q. How did they sell the slaves?  A. The Egbos [Egbas] came to purchase.

Q. Were there slave markets in Ilorin before?  A. Yes, at Oja Oba market before the Europeans came.

Q. What were the slaves used for?  A. On the farms or agric[ultural] labour.

Q. Were there slave markets in Ilorin before?  A. No. We sold them as we got them. [this answer should be taken as a reflection of the practices of some traders including the interviewee’s family, rather than a denial of the existence of actual markets, two of which the interviewee identifies in this interview]

Q. Were they (slaves) differentiated by facial marks?  A. Yes. As it pleased the master.

Q. Were cotton-dyeing leaves grown by the slaves?  A. Yes. These were [This was] practised by many people.

Q. What was the relationship between a slave and his master?  A. They were allowed to marry if the masters liked them, but their products [offspring] were slaves. The women slaves were also married by the masters.

Q. Were there slave markets in this Ilorin before?  A. Gambari [and] Oja Oba were slave markets.

Q. Did they capture slaves around Ilorin?  A. No, but where there was war you captured only [members of] opposing sides.

Q. Were there families who used to capture slaves or were dealers in slaves?  A.  Yes. Alanamu family warriors (Saraki), Balogun Gambari [, Balogun] Fulani. These were warriors.

Q. Can you remember where freed slaves moved to after the coming of the Europeans?  A. Some to the North, to Minna, Borgu etc. Also Iwofa system disappeared.

Q. What happened to the work which used to be done by the slaves when they disappeared?  A. Some farms were spoilt.

Q. Did any slave refuse to go to his town after they were freed by the Europeans?  Yes, some refused to go, while some went. Some who refused to go are even rich men in Ilorin today.

Q. You mentioned you were the first man to bring [a] motor vehicle to Ilorin. Where were you patronising [travelling to for trade] with your motor lorry?  A. I used to patronise Otun, [and] Ogudu near Jebba. Amold [Arnold?] was the Ilorin resident [colonial officer in charge] then, and they borrowed the motor from me and paid me for my services.

Q. You mentioned your motor was running [to] Otun, but which type of trade was going on in Otun?  A. Kola nut trade even up to Ado Ekiti. All the cements used for bridge[s] in Ilorin area were carried with my motor.

Q. Did other people join you to learn your own new kind of trade?  A. Yes, they learnt them [the new kind of trade] from me.

Q. How did you get to Lagos yourself?  A. I was taken to Lagos by my father after the end of slave trade and slavery.

Q. Did you have apprentices under you, whom you worked together with?  A. There were some whom I trained, some worked under me. I worked together with [the] Oni of Ife, the present one on the throne.

Q. How did you share your profits?  A. Oni of Ife was paying me salary and I was a senior driver.

Q. Did you have any other job apart from that work? Did any one of your children learn the job from you? [no answers provided]

Q. Did you have cooperative of motor owners?  A. No. No civilisation then.

Q. Did you go with your lorry as far as the Northern part of the country?  A. No. There were no roads to the North then.

Q. How were slaves moved from the North to the South then, when there was no bridge across the Niger?  A. We used to paddle vessels across the Niger down to the South.

 

 

Tape Number 11

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 11

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALHAJI YAHAYA KALU     DATE 19/7/1975 [or 15/7/1975]

PLACE: OLABINTAN COMPOUND                                 LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT 100 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES [including trade]

OTHER: SLAVERY [detailed], THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [brief]

 

PERSONAL DATA, TEXTILES, SLAVERY, GAMBARI

[Comment by interviewer:] Leader of weavers, 100 years.

Q. What is your name?  A. Alhaji Yahaya Kalu.

Q. What is the name of your father?  A. Mahammed [spelling unclear] Duphia.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Olabintan in Ilorin here.

Q. What is your work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Did you inherit farms from your father?  A. No, although my father had cotton farms.

Q. Who were those working for him on his farms?  A. Slaves.

Q. From where were they captured?  A. I can not know.

Q. When railway was introduced, was there any change in the farming method?  A. I cannot know.

Q. From where did your father come to Ilorin?  A. From Iseyin in the Western State.

Q. What was his work at Iseyin before he came to Ilorin?  A. He was a cloth weaver.

Q. Can we say he decided to move to Ilorin because weaving in Ilorin was more profitable than weaving in Iseyin?  A. No. He came by religious war.

Q. Did people from Iseyin have special mark?  A. Isoju, but majority has no mark.

Q. Where are your relatives in Ilorin?  A. Ile Omo Dada, a warrior; Ike the Baloguns [sic], saraki—chief.

Q. What was the criterion for making people chiefs?  A. Battle achievement.

Q. What was your mother’s work?  A. Cloth selling at the markets, e.g. Omoda.

Q. Did she partake in cotton spinning?  A. Yes.

Q. What were the type[s] of cloth you were weaving in the pre-colonial period?  A. Etu, Sanyan, Petuje.

Q. When the Europeans came, which type did you start to weave?  A. Olona.

Q. Who taught you how to make styles to [sic] cloth weaving?  A. On my own initiative.

[Note by interviewer:] He showed me his specially made cloths.

[Interviewee:] There was an attempt by the Europeans to take me to Europe since they said they cannot understand how I was able to weave the special cloths. The Emir took the Europeans to my place. My cloth won the 1st prize in a competition in London. Obajeri type won 1st prize, Morindoti took 2nd, while Obajare won the 3rd prize.

Note: [by interviewer] At a time, my informant, i.e. Alhaji Kalu, was presented with series of certificates in some cultural shows held at Ilorin.

Q. Is there any group of people well known for specialised spinning?  A. No. I cannot say but all I know is every old woman can spin cotton.

Q. Were slaves taught how to weave?  A. They learnt different trade[s] but not many of them learnt cloth weaving.

Q. Did you charge for training people under you?  A. No, but anybody whom we trained would work for a stipulated period under us. My father also did not charge people.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing the cloths?  A. The old women take charge of that since time immemorial.

Q. Where did they get the raw materials for making dye?  A. We bought them from people coming from Igbeti etc.

Q. Who were those responsible for selling the cloths?  A. We used to carry them to Lagos, Ibadan, Onitsha etc. Ogbomosho.

Q. When did textile trade experience boom?  A. During festivals.

Q. Who were those responsible for carrying the cloths?  A. Carriers including Hausas.

Q. Was credit allowed in the trade?  A. Yes, even in buying cotton, dye raw materials etc., credit was common.

Q. In which type[s] of cloth did Ilorin weavers specialise?  A. Sayna [Sanyan] Bamboko, Petuje. [punctuation as in the typescript; are three types mentioned here, or two?]

Q. What changes were brought about in the textile industry by the advent of the Europeans?  A. A new type of stronger cotton was introduced by the Europeans.

Q. Did you mix the two types?  A. Yes, we used to mix cotton to weave cloth.

Q. Did they collect customs and excise?  A. No, we [have] not heard that they ever collected excise, but traders going to sell in a distant [place] paid customs before they entered the cities.

SLAVERY

Q. Did they use slaves in pre-colonial period?  A. Yes. They were captured during series of wars in Yoruba land, even as far [away] as Ekiti land.

Q. Did you have people who were responsible for selling slaves?  A. Yes. The sarakis (chiefs) who were warriors brought slaves from the battle and sold them at Ilorin markets, Oja Oba, Gambari market, etc.

Q. Were there slave settlements in Ilorin before the advent of the Europeans?  A. I cannot know where they settled at when they were set free.

Q. Any difference between Iwofa and slave?  A. Yes, A slave was caught in battle and sold, while [an] Iwofa was serving under a person because his parent borrowed money from that person. He would serve until the man can pay off his debt.

Q. Any special mark to differentiate a free man from a slave?  A. Some did give their slaves special marks, especially those captured or bought from Kano, Borgu or Bida areas.

Q. Which kind of work were the slaves used for in Ilorin?  A. They worked on the farm, [were] employed as soldiers to fight in wars, even some helped to capture slaves.

Q. What is the relationship between a slave and his master?  A. A slave worked under his master and some did their own private work.

Q. Where did they sell slaves in those days?  A. Isale Gambari and Arowoteru quarter.

Q. What are the major differences between a Gambari and Fulani?  A. Gambari engaged themselves in butchering, [acted as] dilali, while Fulani sell cattle, milk, but the Hausas engaged themselves more in commercial activities.

 

 

Tape Number 12

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 12

PERSON INTERVIEWED: JIMOH ISOWO                       DATE 15/7/1975

PLACE: ODE ISOWO                                                           LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT 70 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES [including trade]

[THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [brief]

 

PERSONAL DATA, TEXTILES, GAMBARI

Q. What is your name?  A. Alfa Jimoh Isowo.

Q. What was your father’s name?  A. Isowo.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Ode Isowo.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you remember the place from which your father came here?  A. Oyo.

Q. Can you remember what actually brought him to Ilorin?  A. Religious reason (Islam) and weaving.

Q. Had he been weaving at Oyo before he came to Ilorin?  A. He had been weaving from Oyo.

Q. Since when have you started weaving cloth?  A. More than forty years ago.

Q. Can you tell me the various type of cloths they wove  at Ilorin before the coming of the Europeans?  A. Fu, Etu, Sanyon, Alari, Alaro.

Q. When the Europeans came, what type did they start to weave?  A. Different types.

Q. From where did they get cotton to weave in Ilorin in the pre-colonial era?  A. Cotton was at Oloje, a compound [an area?] in Ilorin, and villages near Ilorin.

Q. Who were those responsible for spinning cotton?  A. Old women.

Q. Have you ever heard [of] weavers who employed slaves in their work?  A. Yes, but they were mostly used in their farms. They also taught them how to weave.

Q. Which type of work were the slaves mostly used for in Ilorin in the pre-colonial era?  A. They were mostly used on the farm.

Q. Were the spinners of cotton under weavers in those days, or they stood on their own?  A. They stood on their own—specialisation.

Q. Were [there] learners under your father?  A. Yes, even some came from distant places like Oshogbo, Akure etc. 

Q. After freedom, did the people [ex-slaves] go to their various towns or [stay] permanent[ly] at Ilorin?  A. Some went away.

Q. When learning weaving, did you have to pay money, or what was the going [rate?] of the man who trained one in the act [skill]?  A. He [the learner] would work for a stipulated period. It is done till today.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing?  A. Old women.

Q. How [and] where did they get Elu, a leaf used as raw material?  A. From Kishi in Oyo North, Igbeti, they came to Ilorin by [on] foot.

Q. Please explain the marketing system [for woven cloths].  A. They carried them to distant markets in the west like Oje Lagos, Ibadan [confusing: should it be “markets in the west like Lagos and Oje market in Ibadan”?]. They also came down [meaning that buyers also travelled to Ilorin?].

Q. Do you have any leader in your association? i.e. [a leader] of weavers?  A. No.

Q. How did they get to the distant markets?  A. They slept on the way—Ogbomosho, Moniyo, Oyo etc.—to Ibadan.

Q. How did they carry them [the cloths]?  A. They were carried by carriers including people from villages around.

Q. Did they go in [a] group?  A. Yes, with a leader, and they were also well equipped.

Q. Please explain the credit facilities in the textile industry.  A. We sold cloths in [on] credit even in distant markets.

Q. Which type of cloth were the people of Ilorin well known for?  A. Olona.

Q. Can you remember the period of boom in cloth trade?  A. During marriage periods and festivals.

Q. Explain the changes that came about in the textile industry when the Europeans came. 

A. New, strong cotton and abundant one was introduced. Also we were able to mix [the] new and old cotton.

Q. Was there any time when custom[s] or excise was charged?  A. Yes, they charged cloth sellers going to sell in distant markets some amount in the cities.

Q. How do you by profession differentiate between a Fulani and Gambari man?  A. Gambari were commercial men, while Fulanis were cattle sellers. Some slaves although [however] were brought from Hausa land.

 

 

Tape Number 13

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 13

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALFA SHEU FASAUNSI       DATE 16/7/1975

PLACE: ILE ISOWO                                                             LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT  85 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES [including trade]

 

PERSONAL DATA, TEXTILES, SLAVERY, GAMBARI

Q. What is your name? Alfa Sheu Fasaunsi.

Q. Can you remember the name of your father?  A. Alfa Fasaunsi.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Ilorin.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. What of your own work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you remember the place from which your father came to Ilorin?  A. Ede in the West.

Q. Do they weave at Ede?  A. Yes.

Q. Since when have you started to weave cloth?  A. 40 years ago.

Q. Explain the type of cloths they weave [wove] at  Ilorin in pre-colonial period.  A. The popular one then was called Fu before the Europeans came; other types are Kokoro Aro, Iyamaje, Sanya, Alari, Etu, Donmole, Itorin Toro.

Q. What were the raw materials used?  A. Cotton dye. [Note by interviewer:] (followed by the description of how it was processed).

Q. What are the instruments used for weaving as set up now? [Note by interviewer:] (I was at his loom)  A. Itese, Okuku, Agborin, Oke, Asa, Omu Itese etc.

Q. Where did they get cotton in pre-colonial period?  A. They got at Ilorin and the villages around; they were [it was] spun by old [wo]men and made into a process [?] before it is used for weaving.

Q. Did slaves spin cotton in these days?  A. Depending on its status.

Q. Were the women spinning under the weavers?  A. No. They were autonomous.

Q. Any special pace known for good spun cotton?  A. Yes. The Hausas in Gambari area in Ilorin produced special cotton before; our fathers used to get them [it] from Kano.

Q. Where did they get raw materials for making dye?  A. They brought them from Igbeti, Igboho to Ilorin markets and we purchased them from the markets.

Q. Explain the marketing of the textiles after production.  A. Before, we sold them to people only around Ilorin, but later Ilorin became [well known for?] weaving like Iseyin, and our people started to carry the finished textiles to the far Southern markets etc. Abeokuta, etc.

Q. Were there entourage[s] of traders who used to travel together for the same commercial interest?  A. Yes, even they selected leaders among themselves, but a leader should be a warrior.

Q. Who were those responsible for carrying the cloths to distant markets?   A. The middlemen Dilali (Alarobo) used to carry them to places for sale.

Q. Explain credit facilities in the industry.  A. We gave out cloths to other people to weave and they make their own profit in the process.

Q. Which type of cloth was Ilorin well known for, in those days?  A. Adebisi type led to the rise of Ilorin in textile production.

Q. Where did they first start cloth weaving, Iseyin or Ilorin?  A. I cannot say definitely.

Q. Did you notice any Hausa in textile production in Ilorin?  A. No. Hausas are till today known as commercialists. They brought rice, pepper.

Q. When did textile trade experience boom?  A. Marriage period and festivals.

Q. What were the major changes brought about by the Europeans in the textile industry in Ilorin?  A. Dye was changed. Galura [dye? and] stronger cotton was introduced . . . Kuferi cotton was introduced.

Q. Were customs or excise charged?  A. We had only customs charged at distant markets, not in Ilorin.

 

 

Tape Number 14

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 14

PERSON INTERVIEWED: BABA ONIMANGORO          DATE 16/7/1975

PLACE: ALOSINRIN (Alusinrin?)                                       LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT  75 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES [including trade]

OTHER: THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [very brief]; [Slavery: very brief]

 

PERSONAL DETAILS, TEXTILES, SLAVERY, GAMBARI

Q. What is your name?  A. Babamangoro.

Q. What was your father’s name?  Momoh Jimoh.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Alusinrin in Ilorin.

Q What has been your work?   A. Cloth weaving.

Q. What of your father’s work?  A. He was also a cloth weaver before he died.

Q. From where did your father come to Ilorin?  A. Ggoho [Igboho] on Igbeti side.

Q. What was his work at Gboho [Igboho]?  A. I cannot say.

Q. What were the types of cloth woven by Ilorin people in the pre-colonial period?

Q. Fu, Alari etc. Iyamoje.

Q. Where did they get cotton before the coming of the Europeans?  A. Ilorin and villages around.

Q. Were slaves used to cultivate cotton?  A. Yes.

Q. Were [was] the cotton brought to the market?  A. Yes.

Q. Who were those responsible for spinning?  A. Old women.

Q. Have you heard it that slaves partook in spinning?  A. No.

Q. Were the spinners under weavers?  A. No. The [weavers] bought cotton from them.

Q. Have you heard of a group good in cotton spinning?  A. Yes. The Hausas were better in spinning and we preferred their own cotton to ours.

Q. Were people learning weaving under your father?  A. No. Only relations.

Q. Have you heard of people coming from distant places to learn weaving in Ilorin?  A. Yes.

Q. Were the people learning the trade charged some amount by their masters?  A. No. They only prayed for them.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing cloth? Women, old ones.

Q. Where did they get the raw materials?  A. From Kishi and Igbeti area.

Q. Can you mention some markets where the materials were sold at Ilorin etc. Elu. 

A. Oloje, Pakata, Ade ja [,?] Oja Oba.

Q. Any specialisation in production of cloth?  A. Yes.

Q. How were the sales of the textiles organised?  A. People came down to Ilorin to buy the materials and our people also carried them to distant places for sale.

Q. Who were those responsible for carrying the products on their way to the distant markets?  A. Members of the family and they went in group[s].

Q. Did they have stopping places on their way down?  A. Yes.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in textile production.  A. We borrowed ourselves [loaned each other?] money and undertook “middle man transaction[s].” We bought raw materials on credit.

Q. In what type of cloth were the Ilorin people specialised before the coming of the Europeans?

A. Alaro, Sanyan.

Q. Can you remember the period of trade boom for textiles?  A. During Ramadan and other festivals.

Q. What were the changes brought about after the Europeans had come, in the textile industry?  A. I did not hear of both [either]. 

W. How do you differentiate between a Fulani and Gambari.  A. Fulani engage in cattle selling, Gambari in their quarters engage in commercial activities.

 

 

Tape Number 15

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 15

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALFA ANAFI                          DATE 16/7/1975

PLACE: IDI IGBA                                                                LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT  85 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES [including trade]

OTHER: THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [brief], [Slavery: brief mentions]

 

PERSONAL DETAILS, TEXTILES, SLAVERY, GAMBARI

Q. What is your name?  A. Alfa Anafi.

Q. What is your father’s name?  A. Abdul Rahim Elega.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Idi Igba in Ilorin.

Q. What is your work?  A. Cloth weaving has been my only work.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you remember the very place from which your family moved to Ilorin?  A. Yes. We came from Oyo in Western State.

Q. Can you remember the work he was doing at Oyo?  A. Cloth dressing [sic].

Q. Can you explain the different types of cloths they wove at Ilorin before the coming of the Europeans?  A. Etu, Petuje, Sanyan.

Q. From where did they get cotton before the Europeans came?  A. They were [It was] planted by our people in Ilorin and villages around. They were [It was] grown by farmers.

Q. Who were responsible for spinning?  A. Women, but Hausas were better.

Q. Were the old women under you or they were selling on their own?  A. They stood alone.

Q. Did people learn the trade under you?  A. Yes. We taught our relations and people came from Akure, Ogbomosho to learn under us.

Q. Where did cloth weaving first start, Iseyin or Ilorin?  A. Iseyin and Ilorin were known for cloth weaving, but I cannot say where it first started.

Q. Did you go as far as Borgu to sell your cloths?  A. Yes, so our fathers told us.

Q. Did you charge for training people how to weave?  A. We charged, but it all depends, but most people whom we trained worked under us for a stipulated period which served as payment.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing?  A. Our old women.

Q. Who were those who planted the raw materials?  A. Nobody planted them, but they grew and slaves were made to work on them. They were mostly brought from Igbeti area.

Q. Explain the marketing of textile products in the pre-colonial period.  A. Our fathers used to carry them by foot to distant areas, as far [away] as Kano, Bida, Borgu, Ibadan.

Q. Who were responsible for carrying the textile materials?  A. Slaves made up of Yoruba, Kannike, Gogobiri etc.

Q. Did they travel together?  A. Yes, they travelled together armed.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in the textile industry in the pre-colonial period.  A. People gave money in advance for weavers to weave for them.  They also sold in [on] credit to customers in distant markets.

Q. Which type[s] of cloths were Ilorin [weavers] known for?  A. Fun, Iyamo je.

Q. When were trade booms common?  A. Dry season and when marriages were common.

Q. What major changes were brought about by the Europeans into [in] the textile industry?  A. A stronger and more preferable cotton was introduced. 

Q. Did they collect custom[s] or excise in those days?  A. No.

Q. How do you by profession differentiate between Fulani and Gambari?  A. Fulani engaged themselves in rope weaving, cattle selling, while Hausas were commercialists and carriers. The Gambari engaged themselves in labour work.

Tape Number 16

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 16

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALFA ADELODUN                DATE 17/7/1975

PLACE: IDI IGBA  COMPOUND                                       LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT  83 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES [including trade]

OTHER: THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [brief], [Slavery]

 

PERSONAL DETAILS, TEXTILES, SLAVERY, GAMBARI

Q. What is your name?  A. Alfa Adelodun.

Q. Can you remember the name of your father?  A. I cannot remember.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Idi Igba in Ilorin here.

Q. What is your own work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. What was your father’s work before he died?  A. Cloth weaving, in fact he initiated me [in]to it.

Q. Did you learn any other job again?  A. No.

Q. Can you remember the place from which your father came to Ilorin?  A. Oyo.

Q. What were the types of cloth you wove at Ilorin in pre-colonial period?  A. Ajombule (Kure), Reke, Olona [,?] Abesika.

Q. Where did they get [cotton for weaving] cloth in pre-colonial period?  A. We planted cotton in Ilorin and its area.

Q. Have you heard if the slaves were working on the cotton farms?  A. Yes, even Iwofas.

Q. Differentiate between a slave and an Iwofa.  A. A slave was captured, while you entered into an agreement with Iwofa system. That was when you were in debt to a man. A slave was bought.

Q. Who were those responsible for spinning?  A. The old men [sic: this is obviously a typographic error].

Q. Were they under the weavers?  A. No. They stood on their own although they may be the relations of the weavers.

Q. Were there certain groups better in spinning cotton?  A. No.

Q. Did you ever use the Hausa cotton?  A. Yes, and they used ours also.

Q. Did you have learners in [sic] your father’s loom before he died?  A. Yes, very many of them.

Q. From where did they come?  A. Iseyin, Ogbomosho, and Ekiti.

Q. Where did weaving first start?  Iseyin or Ilorin?  A. Ilorin. They moved to Iseyin.

Q. Did learners pay their masters?  A. No. They worked for them [their masters] for a stipulated time.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing the cloths?  A. Old women.

Q. Where did they get the raw materials, Elu?  A.  They planted them in Ilorin area, and some were brought to Ilorin markets to sell, from Igboho, Igbeti etc. Dongari. [was Dongari another place from which Elu was brought, as in Ejidongari?]

Q. Have you heard that they used slaves in cultivating the Elu?  A. They used them.

Q. Which tribe was in majority among the slaves?  A.  Kemberi or Gambari [,] Iyagba. [Iyagba = Yagba?] They were brought from the Northern markets.

Q. Explain the sales of the textile materials.  A. They carried them on foot to Ibadan, Ogbomosho.

Q. Who were responsible for carrying the cloths?  A. The slaves were mostly used.

Q. Did [they] walk in groups?  A. Yes. They even had leaders responsible for security [and?] had stopping places.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in the trade.  A. Spinners allowed credit. Dyers allowed [it] also. In fact, cloths were sold on credit in the distant markets.

Q. In [sic] which type of cloths were the Ilorin [weavers] well known for?  A. Kure, Petuje.

Q. Who were responsible for pressing [the cloths?]?  A. Anybody, common in compounds.

Q. Can you remember when trade boom is experienced?  A. Marriage periods, festivals usually during dry season.

Q. What major changes were brought about in the textile industry by the coming or advent of the Europeans?  A. They introduced a stronger cotton [and?] silk; pukutu types of cotton [grown] by the Africans disappeared.

Q. Did they collect custom[s] or excise?  A. Only customs were collected.

Q. Have you heard that they sold slaves in Gambari area in Ilorin?  A. Yes.

Q. What are the major differences between Fulani and Gambari in Ilorin by the[ir] professions?  A. Fulani engaged in cattle selling, while Gambari do all types of labour; Hausa engaged in butchering, and kola selling before the Yoruas were [became] dominant in kola trade.

 

 

Tape Number 17

I. REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                            TAPE NUMBER 17

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALFA AHINLA[?]                  DATE 17/7/1975

PLACE: IDI IGBA                                                                 LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                           AGE OF INFORMANT  85 YEARS

 

II. SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES [including trade]

OTHER: THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [brief], [Slavery]

 

PERSONAL DETAILS, TEXTILES, SLAVERY, GAMBARI

Q. What is your name?  A.  Alfa Ahinla[?].

Q. What is the work of your father?  A.  Cloth weaving.

Q. What is your father’s name?  A.  Baraye.

Q. Where were [you] born?  Idi Igba.

Q. Can  you remember the place from which your father came?  A.  Oyo.

Q. What brought him to Ilorin?  A. I understand it was a war.

Q.  What were the types of cloths they wove at Ilorin in the pre-colonial period?  A. Fu, Petuje, Etu, Sanyan.

Q. From where did they get cotton then?  A. Cotton was grown in Ilorin and nearby villages. They were [it was] even brought from Hausaland.

Q. Who were those responsible for spinning?  A. Old women.

Q. Were slaves used in the spinning sector of the industry?  A. Yes.

Q. Were slaves used in the cotton farms?  A. Yes. Able ones.

Q. Were spinners under weavers?  No. Everyone was autonomous, although women helped in harvesting of cotton.

Q. Any special group well known for spinning good wool [sic]?  A. Yes. The Hausas spun a special type.

Q. Did people come to learn the trade under your father?  A. Yes. People came from Abeokuta, Ogbomosho.

Q. Did they pay?  A. No, but [they] worked for about 5 years under the master.

Q. Who were responsible for dyeing?  A. Old women.

Q. Where did they get the leaves used for dyeing?  A. Igboho,  Igbeti.

Q. Did they use slaves on the farms?  A. Yes, slaves were used in every sector of the economy in the pre-colonial period.

Q. Explain the marketing of the finished textile products.  A. They were sold in Ilorin markets, Kano, Ijebu area, Ibadan and Lagos, also Ekiti and Ghana. They [also] carried textiles to Makurdi. [the information about Makurdi was originally placed on its own, later in the text]

Q. Did they travel in group[s]?  A. Yes, they travelled in groups and walked but stopped on the way. Their stopping places include Ogbomosho, Oyo, Fiditi when they were going to Ibadan.

Q. Who were responsible for carrying the textile products?  A. Slaves and carriers.

Q. How did they get slaves?  A. The conquered settlements were enslaved after wars.

Q. What is the difference between a slave and an Iwofa?  A. An Iwofa stayed with a man on contract basis, usually when the parent[s] were in debt, while a slave was conquered in war.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in the textile industry.  A. No credit given.

Q. Who were those responsible for carrying back money received after sales in distant markets.  A. The slaves and carriers.

Q. In which type[s] of cloth did Ilorin specialise during the colonial period? [typographical error: should read “pre-colonial period]  A. Fu, Etu, Sanyan, Petuje, Banboko.

Q. Can you remember the period of boom for textile materials?  A. During dry season when there were marriages, but there were recession[s] during wet season.

Q. What happened to textile industry when the Europeans came?  A. New cotton was introduced but stronger than ours, and we even started to mix both cottons, local ones and imported ones.

Q. Did they charge custom[s] or excise?  A. No excise was charged but people who travelled to sell in distant markets paid customs before they entered the cities.

Q. Which people do you call Gambari and Fulani?  A. Gambari came from the North and Fulani [also did], but Fulani engaged in cattle selling while the Gambari did any manual labour.

 

 

Tape Number 18

REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                                  TAPE NUMBER 18

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALFA BABA DAN ALADI          DATE 18/7/1975

PLACE: IDI IGBA                                                                       LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                                 AGE OF INFORMANT 75 YEARS

 

SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES, TRADE IN TEXTILES

 

PERSONAL DETAILS, TEXTILES, TRADE IN TEXTILES

Q. What is your name?  A. Alfa Baba dan Alhaji [dan Aladi in the Reference Data section]

Q. Can you remember the name of your late father? Abdul Majeed.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Sangbaiye.

Q. What is your work?  A. I was formerly a mallam before I started weaving.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. He was a mallam and a textile weaver; his father was a warrior. I was initiated to both trades by my father.

Q. Can you remember the place from where your father came?  A. Ilorin.

Q. Can you explain the types of cloth woven at Ilorin in pre-colonial era?  A. Iyamoje, Reke, Etu, Sanyan, Fu.

Q. Where did they get cotton in pre-colonial era?  A. Cotton was grown on the farms in Ilorin and nearby villages. They also got from Kano markets.

Q. Who were responsible for spinning cotton?  A. The old women.

Q. Any difference between cotton got from Ilorin and of Ilorin [from Kano]?  [the end of the sentence was garbled, but it is clear that the replacement in square brackets represents the intended ending] A. Kano cotton is thinner and preferable.

Q. Who were those working on the cotton farms?  A. Slaves who were old women helped in spinning and worked on the farms.

Q. Have you heard that people came to Ilorin to learn how to weave?  A. I do not know.

Q. Where did weaving first start? Iseyin or Ilorin?  A. I do not know.

Q. Did people learning weaving pay their masters?  A. No, but they worked for the master for a period.

Q. Who were the people responsible for dyeing?  A. Old women.

Q. Where did they get the raw materials to make the solution?  A. Igbeti, Igboho, Olapa [?], Megida.

Q. Can you explain the marketing of the materials?  A. They went to sell them at Lagos area and far North.

Q. Any credit facilities in the textile industry?  A. No, but allowed credit for those well known to the sellers.

Q. In which type of cloth did the Ilorin weavers specialise?  A. Petuje, Etu.

(NO FURTHER COOPERATION)

 

 

Tape Number 19

REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                                              TAPE NUMBER 19

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALHAJI ABDUL GAMBARI       DATE 19/7/1975

PLACE: OKE AGODI[?]                                                             LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                                     AGE OF INFORMANT  79 YEARS

 

SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES, TRADE IN TEXTILES[, Slavery: brief]

 

PERSONAL DETAILS, TEXTILES, TRADE IN TEXTILES, SLAVERY

Q. What is your name:  A. Alhaji Abdul Gambari.

Q. What is your father’s name?  A. Abibu.

Q. What is your work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Ilorin here.

Q. Can you remember your father’s work?  A. Yes. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you remember the place from which your father moved to Ilorin?  A. I cannot know.

Q. What were the types of cloth woven at Ilorin before the colonial rule?  A. Iyamoje, Etu, Petuje, Fu etc.

Q. Where did they get cotton in the pre-colonial era?  A. At Ilorin, because cotton was grown at Ilorin and nearby villages.

Q. Who were those working on the farm?  A. Slaves were abundantly used.

Q. Who were those responsible for spinning cotton?  A. Old women.

Q. Were the old women working under you?  A. No.

Q. Any special group of spinners?  A. Hausa spun thinner cotton and we got them [it] from Kano market by foot. (Slaves were used. Probably)

Q. Did they have learners in the trade?  A. Yes.

Q. Have you heard it in history the place which first started weaving cloth, Iseyin or Ilorin?  A. Iseyin people used to come to learn from Ilorin.

Q. Did learners pay their masters?  A. No, they only worked for the masters for a stipulated period.

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing?  A. Old women.

Q. Were they under weavers?  A. No, but autonomous. 

Q. Where did they get the raw materials used to make dye?  A. Etu is used and was available near Ilorin. They were [it was] brought from Ilorin and other places to farms. [should read: brought to Ilorin and other places from farms]

Q. Explain the marketing of cloths.  A. They were carried to Ilorin markets and other distant markets in Ibadan, Ogbomosho etc. My father was the first man to carry cloths from Ilorin to sell in  Lagos. He was called Girigiri because he used to keep the other people who went with him to Lagos in a hurry.

Q. Did they go along?  A. They travelled in groups and they stopped on the way.

Q. Did they use slaves?  No. They walked themselves. They stopped at Oyo, Ogbomosho. It was 10 days’ journey to Lagos.

Q. Was there any cooperative of cloth sellers?  A. Yes, they brought salt when coming from Lagos. They sold cloths at Omoda, then Oja oba.

Q. What did they sell at Gambari market?  A. Anything.

Q. Explain credit facilities in the textile industry.  A. They did not sell in [on] credit.

Q. In which type[s] of cloth did Ilorin weavers specialise?  A. Fu, Sanyan, Petuje.

Q. What was the time of trade boom?  A. Dry season, and during marriages.

Q. What changes were brought [about] by the coming of the Europeans?  A. New, better cotton was introduced.

Q. Were custom[s] and excise duties charged for the products?  A. No.

Q. Differentiate between a Fulani and [a] Gambari.  A. I cannot.

 

 

Tape Number 20

REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN                      TAPE NUMBER 20

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALFA SA’ADU     DATE 20/7/1975

PLACE: OKE AGODI                                         LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                         AGE OF INFORMANT  80 YEARS

 

SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES, TRADE IN TEXTILES

OTHER: THE GAMBARI IN ILORIN [brief]

 

PERSONAL DETAILS, TEXTILES, TRADE IN TEXTILES, GAMBARI

Q. What is your name?  A. Alfa Sa’adu.

Q. What is your father’s name?  A. Alfa Badiru.

Q. Where were you born?  A. Oke Agodi in Ilorin.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. What is your own work?  A. Cloth weaving

Q. Can you remember the place from which your relations moved to Ilorin?  A. No, I cannot remember.

Q. What were the types of cloths woven at Ilorin in the pre-colonial era?  A. Etu, Petuje, Sanyan.

Q. Where did they get cotton?  A. From Ilorin and nearby villages.

Q. Who were those responsible for spinning?  A. Old women.

Q. Did they use slaves in the farms?  A. I don’t know.

Q. From which other places were Ilorin weavers supplied with cotton?  A. They got cotton from Kano markets in the pre-colonial period. 

Q. Who were those responsible for carrying the cotton from Kano?  A. I do not know.

Q. Any difference between Kano cotton and Ilorin cotton?  A. Yes, Kano cotton was thinner and stronger.

Q. Were the spinners under weavers?  A. No. They stood on their own.

Q. Did people learn the weaving under your father?  A. Yes. They even came from other towns.

Q. Where did weaving first start? Iseyin or Ilorin?  A. I cannot say. I know the two towns were popular. They [Iseyin] specialised in Kure, while Ilorin specialised in Njawu.

Q. What was the going [rate?] of a master who taught people how to weave?  A. The learners worked under the masters for a stipulated time.

Q. Who were responsible for dyeing?  A. Old women. They also stood alone like the spinners.

Q. Where did they get raw materials for making dye?  A. They brought them from Igbeti, Igboho Moro, Alapa Ogere all near Ilorin. [should all the following words—Igboho, Moro, Alapa, and Ogere—be separated by commas, as indicating 4 separate places/areas?]

Q. Explain the marketing of the products after weaving.  A. They were taken by foot to Lagos, Ibadan, Ogbomosho etc. They went in groups. They also sold at Omoda market, Gambari [both in Ilorin], etc.

Q. Were Ilorin textiles sold in the North?  A. I do not know.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in the textile trade.  A. They sold through Alarobo, i.e. Delali [sic], and they allowed credit in the spinning and cotton selling section [sectors].

Q. In which kinds of cloths were the Ilorin people specialised?  A. Etu, Sanyan, Alikinla.

Q. When did the textile trade experience boom?  A. Dry season because no rain or river disturbance, also during marriage period[s].

Q. What happened to textile industry when the Europeans came?  A. They introduced stronger and cheaper cotton. We preferred [the] European type. We also started to combine the two types.

Q. Did they charge customs or excise?  A. I have not heard of the history.

Q. Any cooperative of cloth weavers in this Ilorin?  A. No.

Q. What of Kalu’s position?  A. He is only an expert honoured by [the] Emir of Ilorin.

Q. What is the difference between a Fulani and [a] Gambari?  A. Gambari sold kola and engaged in commerce. Fulani sold cattle also.

 

 

 

Tape Number 21

REFERENCE DATA:

COLLECTOR: OTOLORIN ADESIYUN          TAPE NUMBER 21

PERSON INTERVIEWED: ALFA SHEU         DATE 20/7/1975

PLACE: IDI [incomplete]                                     LANGUAGE YORUBA

BIRTH PLACE: [not given here]                         AGE OF INFORMANT  80 YEARS

 

SUMMARY OF MAIN TOPICS DISCUSSED IN INTERVIEW:

CRAFT TOPICS: TEXTILES

TRADE: TRADE IN TEXTILES

[Slavery: brief]

 

 

PERSONAL DETAILS, TEXTILES, TRADE IN TEXTILES

Q. What is your name?  A. Alfa Sheu.

Q. What is your father’s name?  A. Alfa Gidado.

Q. What was your father’s work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you remember the place from which your father moved to Ilorin?  A. Yoruba land.

Q. What of your own work?  A. Cloth weaving.

Q. Can you explain the types of cloths woven in Ilorin before the coming of the European[s]?  A. Fu, Etu, Petuje, Iyamo de doropo, Iyatuya, Omo le.

Q. Where did they get the supply of cotton in the pre-colonial period?  A. It was grown by the farmers in Ilorin and nearby villages.

Q. Did you hear that cotton were [was] brought from Hausa land?  A. Yes, spun cotton.

Q. How did you recognise cotton brought from Hausa land?  A. Theirs, i.e. Hausas’ cotton, were [was] thinner.

Q. Who were those working on the cotton farms?  A. Slaves and Iwofas.

Q. Differentiate between a slave and [an] Iwofa.  A. An Iwofa was asked to work for a person who had lent out money to the parents, while a slave was bought or captured in war. A slave could buy himself [freedom] by repaying his master the amount [for which] he was bought.

Q. Who were responsible for spinning?  A. The old women.

Q.  Were the spinners under weavers?  A. No, they stood alone on their own. So also the dyers.

Q. Did people learn weaving?  A. Yes, people come [came?] from Okiti [Ekiti?], Oyo, Ede to learn in Ilorin.

Q. Where did weaving first start?  A. Iseyin used to come to learn weaving at Ilorin, e.g. Agarau compound was made up of people from Iseyin who came to learn weaving in Ilorin and finally settled down in Ilorin. I cannot know the place which first started weaving. Each town specialised, e.g. Kure is their specialisation in Iseyin.

Q. Did learners pay their masters for training them [in] weaving?  A. We don’t charge relations but they worked for masters for a stipulated period. Usually, they become free when they are about to get married. [difficult to tell from this answer whether the interviewee is talking about the past, the present, or both]

Q. Who were those responsible for dyeing cloths?  A. old women who stood on their own like spinners.

Q. Where did they get supply of some materials?  A. They brought Ehe [Elu for dyeing?] from Elulu, Alapa, Igbeti etc. Kishi, Igbeti, Igboho.

Q. Explain the marketing of the textile materials.  A. The materials were taken by foot to distant markets, to places like Akure, Jos, Kano, Lagos, and [also sold] in Ilorin markets.

Q. What type of currency were they using when they were walking on foot to Lagos?  A. Cowrie shells.

Q. Explain the credit facilities in the textile trade.  A. Credits were allowed.

Q. In which kind[s] of cloth were Ilorin weavers specialised?  A. Petuje, Sunyun [Sanyan].

Q. When did cloth [trade] experience boom?  A. Dry season.

Q. What happened to the textile industry when the Europeans came?  A. New cotton was introduced. The new one was better because it was stronger.

Q. Did they collect customs and excise duties on the materials produced?  A. Customs [duties were] collected at the gates of other cities.

 

3.3 Re-translations of the cassette tapes of 6 of the interviews conducted by Otolorin Adesiyun in Ilorin in 1975, as part of a project organised by Professor Paul E. Lovejoy in collaboration with Professor Jan Hogendorn

 

Below are the re-translations of the cassette tapes of six of the 1975 interviews, organised by myself (Ann O’Hear)  and made by my research assistants, Suleiman Ajao (1 interview) and Busayo Simeon (5 interviews), in consultation with me. They are fuller than the summaries provided in the Oral Data Index, and they also contain occasional annotations by me.

 

Note on the re-translations: transcriptions such as “O[.]mo[.]dada” in the re-translations indicate that in Yoruba orthography a diacritical mark should be placed under the preceding letter.

 

 

Interview by Otolorin Adesiyun with Alhaji Yahaya Kalu Olabintan, 15 July 1975 (Adesiyun # 11). Translated from the tape by Suleiman Ajao, August 1984 [with occasional annotations by Ann O’Hear].

Adesiyun introduces the interviewee as Olori As[.]o[.]. He comes from Olabintan Compound and is about 100 years old.

What is the name of your own father? Mohammadu Buhari.

Where were you born? Ile Olabintan.

What is/was your job? Weaving cloth.

Were you taught any other job besides weaving? No other job.

What was the work of your own father? Weaving cloth.

Have you ever heard that your father’s own father was also weaving cloth? Yes.

How long have you been weaving? A long time.

Is it only cloth weaving you were taught? Yes. I didn’t learn any other job.

Did your father teach you how to do farming? They don’t farm in our compound; people who help us do the farming are in the farm, but we don’t do it ourselves.

The people who helped my father to do farming were slaves.

Can you remember how the slaves were bought? I don’t know. I was very young at that time, so I don’t know.

Were the slaves taught how to weave? No, they only worked in the farm.

Some of the slaves did weave cloth, but not all of them. They gave individual slaves their own job to do. Whichever slaves did weaving didn’t go to the farm, whichever farmed didn’t weave.

Slaves did the planting, yam, maize, guinea corn, and harvested and brought them home.

Slaves that worked on the farm lived in the village(s).

My father would send his junior brother to look after them on the farm. The junior brother of my father would look after the farm where the slaves were working, and my father would be at home looking after the weaving.

My own father was a very important person. A great warrior. Even at the war front, he used to weave cloth.

Our farm in the old days was very big.

I can remember the year when the train arrived. We went to Gama to see it.

My own father came from Iseyin.

Can you say that your father was only weaving cloth before he came to Ilorin?  Only weaving cloth, no other job. Even in Iseyin he was weaving cloth.

Is there any tribal mark to show that people were from Iseyin? Some, have, some don’t. People with no tribal mark will have only [translator’s gloss: two small marks]. There are many people who don’t have tribal marks.

Are there any people around that are from the same blood with your family, who are not living in this compound, but have their own compound around here? The houses surrounding us, many people are there. Ile O[.]mo[.]dada, Balogun Ajikobi, O[.]mo Iduluko[.] are from our blood.

Balogun Gambari, Balogun Fulani, Balogun Alanamu, Balogun Ajikobi are also warriors. They are “saraki,” that is chiefs in war in the olden days.

“Saraki” is someone who has a chiefly title. Anyone who is a chief is called Saraki.

In the olden days, if someone was not a real warrior or popular in the town, could he be given a chiefly title? No, they couldn’t make him a chief. Someone who could fight bravely in war could be given a chiefly title. Even, if you were not brave in war, you wouldn’t get a wife. When the white man first came to me, he came one Sunday. He met some chiefs with me, about 5 chiefs. I was telling the white man that these were the brave warriors. The white man replied that they were not brave; their father was brave because their father was the warrior and gave the title to the sons before he died. The white man said I was the strongest among them because I was doing my job and was still strong.

In the olden days, did every warrior have his own slaves? Many! [protracted exclamation] These slaves were also war fighters. They gave them weapons to fight with. After the slaves were captured, they were still used as a weapon. They gave them guns to fight with at the war front.

Can you remember the name of your mother? Her job? Selling cloth.

When my father finished weaving, he gave it to my mother and she would take it to the market to sell. It was not only my father that gave my mother cloth to sell. If anybody wove their own they gave it to her to sell at Omoda Market.

Did your mother help your father to arrange the thread (o riran owu)? Yes.

Can you remember where your mother came from? Ilorin. No other town.

(Alhaji Yahaya says he is a Muslim.) What type of Muslim? A follower of Mohammed. I have been to Mohammed’s house in Mecca.

Some time ago, you mentioned different types of cloth they used to weave? Yes.

Mention the ones they really wove before the whites came. As[.]o[.] E[.]tu, As[.]o[.] Sanyan, As[.]o[.] Pe[.]tuje, As[.]o[.] Waka.

When the whites came, what type did they weave? A[.]o[.] Olona.

Adesiyun says: I have been round to see weavers, and people said it was when the whites came and brought different type(s) of thread, it was then they knew the baba [Alh. Yahaya Kalu] as head of the cloth weavers, because he has many different types of design.

This is true. Many different types of design. I have different types of cloth which you have never seen before.

Adesiyun says: There is no place I go to that they don’t mention the baba’s name and say that he is their head.

In designing the cloth, was it your father that taught you, or was it from our own mind? From my own mind. The white man when I first knew him he went to Osi to bring some cloth weavers, and went to Kaduna to bring cloth weavers too. He brought them to see me, to know me.

Did he bring them to learn how to design cloth? No, just to know me. Because we have to know each other. Immediately they saw me and the different types of cloth I had been doing, the 2 men from Osi and Kaduna said they can’t teach this baba anything! The 2 men said they now believed this baba was a great man--he knew better than they did.

Adesiyun says: Alhaji Yahaya Kalu showed me the varieties he specialised in. Some were woven with European cotton. Some were perforated.

The white men said they wanted to take me to their country.

Why? They said they had never seen this type of job before.

Was it that they wanted to take you to weave? No. Just to know me abroad. They just wanted to take me there to introduce me to people. Because they couldn’t understand whether it was a spirit teaching me the job. It was my father, not any bad spirit. How I was doing the weaving, I surprised them. When the child of the Queen came, with Tafawa Balewa, in Lagos, they were surprised. Many whites came to see me. I was weaving, they were looking. Even the Queen came later to see it. The Queen said she thought it was done with needles, she didn’t know it was done that way. She was surprised. The child of the Queen took my cloth to England.

            I won an award. A booklet was sent to me and I was given some money. They took different types of cloth from various towns to England but my own was the only one they appreciated.

Adesiyun says: Cloth was taken to London from Iseyin, Ilorin etc. Alhaji Yahaya Kalu’s own: O[.]bajeri won first prize, Morindo[.]ti the second type taken, O[.]bajare the third. Alhaji Yahaya Kalu showed me certificates he had won at Ilorin Cultural Shows--Festivals of Arts and Crafts.

Certificate: This is to certify that Yahaya Kalu has been awarded 2nd prize for adult needlework in Ilorin Show, December 1955. Signed Abdulkadiri, Ilorin N.A.

Another certificate says: Ilorin Agricultural Show and Festival of Arts and Crafts. This is to certify that Yahaya Kalu has been awarded 1st prize for weaving, Ilorin Show December 1954. Signed Abdulkadiri on behalf of Ilorin N.A.

A third certificate: 2nd prize for weaving, December 1955. Signed Abdulkadiri, Emir, Ilorin N.A.

 

Mention the instruments used in weaving. O[.]mu, asa, o[.]ko, agbanrin, okuku, apas[.]a, okeki, ainso[.].

Where did they get the thread in those days before the whites brought thread? Cotton from the farm. It was split and scattered then rolled (wan ran) so as to get the thread. My wife even reeled it too, to produce thread.

In this area of Ilorin do they still plant cotton:? Yes they do. They plant guinea corn, maize, yam, cassava.

Is there any place where they know how to reel cotton well? They don’t know where from, because the people who do/did the job are Ilorin born people.

Did the slaves learn to weave in those days? There was nothing they didn’t do. They learned how to weave cloth too. They learned how to farm. They went to war. There were not many slaves who learned to weave. Even at the war front the slaves wove cloth too. They didn’t come home till the war ended, so when there was a resting period they used to weave. And if they didn’t win the war, the slaves didn’t come home. I used to hear the call Omodada, Omodada. He was a real warrior.

Do/did the family learn how to weave under you? They do/did.

Do/did they take any money from people from the family that learn how to weave cloth? In the olden days they didn’t take any money.

Do any people come from other towns to learn? They do.

If anyone comes from another town and is taught how to do weaving, what will he pay you in return after being taught how to do everything? In return, he has to work for the man for some period, before he can finally be released. Even the white man wanted to learn and asked how much was I taking. I told the white man I was not taking any money. The white man said why was I not taking any money? Because our forefathers didn’t take any kobo from anybody. But whatever you want to do, you will be working for the master. The Yoruba boys that showed the white man where I was were all under me as apprentices. Whatever I sent them to do they had to do, because I was not taking any money.

Who are the people who dye the cloth? They are our women (awon obinrin wa).

Where do they get e[.]lu [leaf used to make dye]? In the farm.

Is it still in the farm? Even till now. And they still do the dyeing of cloth.

At what time do they do the dyeing? Any time. Whether it is rainy or dry season they can do the dyeing.

In selling cloth, are there some people who take the cloth to other countries to sell? Even I took it to other countries.

What countries or towns? Ibadan, Lagos. They even come from other towns to buy. Even Ibos come to buy. Even Ibos come to Ibadan to meet them and buy and take to their town.

Was there any [particular] day for every market during the olden days? Yes, every town has/had its own market day. Ogbomosho’s market day is different [from others].

Who were those who mostly used to buy the cloth in the olden days before the whites? They came to buy but I don’t know where from. Before I only know they came from Ogbomosho to buy and go back to resell. Before they came from Isanlu too.

Are sales made mostly during marriages or Christmas or any celebration day? When they are doing the Ogun festival. Ondo people.

Who were those who used to carry [the cloth] on their heads before the whites came? Carriers (alaaru).

Did these include slaves? No. Only the alaaru.

Where did the alaaru come from? From their town. They might come from any village, including Hausas. They even hired cart (o[.]mo[.]lanke) pushers. They were also working for their daily bread and later would go back to their town.

Is there any system of buying cloth on credit and paying later, or “customer” (onibara) system? Yes.

Why do we have this “customer” system? Because there will be a day when you have no money to buy; you go to where you usually buy for cash, and get on credit. There are even some people who come and buy cloth on credit. After they have sold it they will come back to pay.

 

In what type of cloth weaving did Ilorin specialise in the olden days, before the whites? Pe[.]tuje, Sanyan, Omale, Waka, Baboko, As[.]o[.] E[.]le[.]tu.

With what type of thread? They used their own local thread.

Can you explain some of the differences in weaving between when the whites came and before? Are local thread and the whites’ thread mixed in weaving now? They are, but when the whites hadn’t come only the local thread was used.

Can you mention the type of cloth woven using both the whites’ thread and local thread? Everything. In every cloth they mix them. In the whole of Ilorin they mix the threads.

Do/did the chiefs take customs duty? They do/did take customs duty from the weavers.

Did the chiefs take any tax money from the weavers on every cloth they weave? No.

Was there any community (alas[.]ipo) of weavers in the olden days? There was/is.

But they didn’t/don’t say this is the price you should put on the cloth? No, they knew/know the price already, so no need of saying this is the price you should put on a particular cloth.

[Yahaya Kalu showed Adesiyun] the type of cloth nobody else could do. There are many types of this which nobody could do in Ilorin, which only I could do. For example, Morindo[.]ti, O[.]bajeri, O[.]bajare.

The three you mentioned, did you know how to weave them before the white men, or after the whites arrived? I have been practising them for long, even before the arrival of the whites. I was taught [doesn’t specify which types] by my father.

The people you taught--is there any reward they want to render in return for the teaching? If there is anything important I want to do, they can bring money.

 

Slavery.

Did they use slaves in Ilorin? Yes.

Where were they from? During war they got slaves.

From the North or from Yorubaland? Yorubaland.

Do you remember the wars? There were many wars, such as Offa, Ajase, Ekiti. They all brought slaves from these places. Ekiti Parapo--they brought slaves from there. If they didn’t participate in war, they couldn’t get slaves. People would bring slaves from the war, and you would go there to buy them. For example, chiefs bought them.

Was there any place where the slaves settled after their freedom? Whoever bought the slaves owned them. He would show them where to stay.

When they were commanded to stop the slavery business, was there any place where all the slaves went to settle? Nobody knows where they are. Where any slave was interested in going, he would go.

Why? During that time, a person who brought a slave had sold it and had got the money. He had no concern about the slave once he had sold it.

Did slaves free themselves? They did if they worked hard and had the money to pay back the man who had bought them.

What is the difference between iwofa and e[.]ru? The difference is that e[.]ru means slave. Iwofa: if a man was in need of money and had a child he would take the child to the person he was going to borrow from, and the man would give him the money. The creditor would retain the child and the child would work for him until the money was paid back.

Did they give any mark to slaves to differentiate them [from the free]? Because [Adesiyun goes on] it is said some came from the north; they would go to Kano market to buy them. [response] It was mostly in the north that they gave marks to know who owned a slave. Apart from the mark the slaves had already got, they would give a mark to differentiate them. They did it in the north, not here.

What type of work did slaves do? After they were captured, they were used as a weapon at the war front. A slave would also bring more slaves home later. They were also used on the farm.

What attitude and behaviour was there between a slave and his master? The master fed the slave, and the slave would take the master as father, have a special regard for the master. After he had done the work for the master and was tired of serving the master, he would do his own work to get money to pay back the master, to be free from him.

Was there any market where they sold slaves? Isala [Isale] Gambari. [also] Ile Aluweru, that is a house where somebody has the money to buy slaves.

Did they capture slaves near Pakata in the olden days? If you were brave in the world you could do so, but if you were not brave . . . . . . !

 

What is the difference between Gambari and Fulani? When someone is called Gambari, what is the meaning? If you see Hausa, you can know the difference between Gambari and Fulani.

So, why do people called Gambari speak Yoruba fluently? Because they have been [here] a long time, they do everything here.

If we say Gambari, do we mean Yoruba or Hausa? Hausa. All the children were born here. Their forefathers settled here. Whoever was/is born here is automatically an Ilorin man.

Is there any work the Gambari do which will make you know they are Gambari? Whatever job such as selling secondhand clothes or trading. They don’t weave cloth.

What is the job of Fulanis? They keep cattle. That is how they are differentiated. They put a wrapper over their body, hold a long stick and wear a big woven hat.

 

Adesiyun says: Yahaya Kalu is the head of all cloth weavers in Ilorin.

 

 

 

Interview conducted by Otolorin Adesiyun with Abdul Karimu, Ilorin, 9 July 1975 (Adesiyun # 1). Translated from the tape by Busayo Simeon [with occasional annotations by Ann O’Hear], August/September 1989.

 

What is your name? Abdul Karimu.

What was your father’s name? Suleiman.

Where were you born? Ilorin.

Do you remember the Oba who was on the throne when you were born? Oba [Emir] Aliu.

What was your occupation before you became old? I had no other job except weaving.

Did you learn any other work? No.

Do you remember the occupation of your father? When I was born, I met my father weaving cloth.

Did you inherit any farm from your father? We own no farm. It is the weaving that we do.

Do you remember where your father was born? (two other old men present at the interview tell him he should say Ilorin) Ilorin.

Do you remember where your forefathers came from? Kogbai.

Where can Kogbai be found? On the way to Kishi.

Do you remember what led to their migrating from their place of origin? When Ilorin was becoming big and popular (gbayi) they moved here, to join the people. They came to join Alfa Alimi.

Where did Alfa Alimi come from? Sokoto?  [is the question mark after “Sokoto” a typographical error?]

Do you remember the work your forefathers did while they were at Kishi? Farming. But when they came to Ilorin they no longer farmed but became weavers.

Did the man who came from Kishi and the people who came with him have any special tribal marks? They only had small vertical marks (pele), 3 on each cheek.

Where are your relations now? They are Kogbai people. [Also] I have more than one relation in Ilorin now.

In which part of Ilorin are they now? At Ile Sebuturi, Ile Ayilara, Ile Laiti, Ile Le[.]re[.], Ile Sinini, Ile Lemonu Mo[.]le, on the street along Ile Onipanu.

What was your mother’s name? Barikisu.

Do you remember your father’s father’s name? Aliu.

Do you remember your mother’s occupation? A weaver and a dyer.

Do you remember where your mother came from? “station” [?] at Aluko.

Do you remember the man that taught you Islamic religion? [An old man interrupts, saying] We met our forefathers doing it.

Before your forefathers left Kogbai, do you remember their religion? Was it when they came to Ilorin that they changed to Islam? They brought Islamic religion with them from Kogbai. When they met Alfa Alimi they already had Islamic religion.

 

I would like to give some information on different woven cloths. [Here, another man takes over the answering, because although old, he is still weaving.] Before the Europeans came, they wove Waka, Alikinla, Iyamo[.]je[.], Popo Eleko, Pe[.]tuje[.], E[.]tu, Karojo[.], Arojalasa, Sanyan, Wulu, Funfun, different cloths; if I should start counting them they are up to one hundred.  Before the Europeans, people came from Lagos to buy cloths from them. Before the arrival of the Europeans it was these woven cloths that they used in making trousers (sokoto), cloths to wear [?] (as[.]o[.]) and caps (fila). The Europeans met them using their woven cloths. The Europeans who came did not teach them how to weave.

 

Can you remember the instruments used in weaving cloth? First of all, our fathers normally travelled to Kano to buy slaves, then brought the slaves back to Ilorin and sold them. Having sold the slaves, they would go back again and buy more. After that the Europeans said there should be no more buying and selling of slaves. It was then that our fathers settled down to weaving, and people from Ibadan and Lagos and all over came to buy the cloth. Both men and women came to buy cloth, and even order cloth.

 

Where did you buy the thread (owu) that you used in weaving? All the small villages surrounding Ilorin made the thread from the lint. It is a plant. When planted and harvested they would make the lint into thread and then the weavers would buy it from them. Then they would separate (aya) it into the different colours, black (dudu), red (pupa) and white (funfun) and many other colours. Having separated it, then they made the dyeing liquid (aro). They used this dyeing liquid to give many colours like red and black.

 

In making the cloth they make the loom frame (ofi), the beater (asa), the heddles (om[.]u). Then they spread out the thread [i.e., make the long warp?], then they will sit down and start the weaving (asise kini ti a ma nasi, a wa jokole[.] asi mahun). They have a shuttle (o[.]ko[.]) which they use in weaving. Later, when the Europeans came and saw their weaving they took their thread and  shuttle and came back with their own type of shuttle, with thread and paper. They made the shuttle and thread and the paper stated that they [the Europeans] took the original shuttle from them. The Europeans told them that their own shuttle can be used the same way.

 

Did you people grow your own cotton before? Yes, we have been growing our own cotton before the arrival of the Europeans. The Europeans’ thread came after our own.

Who were the people making the thread?  (wo[.]n ran owu). The women from the farms were the makers of the thread, even including our own women too, at Ilorin. There were women that made thread and wove among them too.

Were the people making the thread under the male weavers? No.

 

Were there apprentices under you? Yes, many of them. After they had learnt the art of weaving, they went back and started on their own.

What was the relationship between you and your apprentices? It was our relations (o[.]mo[.] e[.]bi) who wanted to learn the work of their father because it was very lucrative. Even those that went to farm and those in trading business still came back to weaving and they benefited from it.

Did these apprentices pay for their learning? There were some that would be brought to them to learn the art of making cloth that would be living with them without paying any money, and there were some that would be brought to them and would say they would like to learn it for 4 or more years, then they would charge. Having learned the art of weaving and mastered it, then they would pay the money, then they would get their freedom. If it was the weavers’ own relation, having learnt the art of weaving, they would ask him to go, without paying any money.

 

Who were the ones who dyed the cloth after weaving? There were some women who had no other job except dyeing. After weaving, the cloths that the weavers wanted to dye would be dyed, and those that they did not want to dye would be left. There were other dyers who dyed the thread (pa owu) [i.e., not the finished cloth].

What was the relationship between you and the women dyers? Were they your relations? No. They were doing their own business. They charged according to the quantity of material taken to them. The weavers would take them a sample of how they wanted the cloth to look.

 

Please explain to me how these cloths were being sold and where. Were the cloths being ordered, or did people just come and buy them? The weavers went to Lagos and Ijebu Ode and other towns, to sell the cloth. They also went to other towns where the people did not know how to weave, to sell the cloth. After selling, they came back with their money (owo).

 

Who were the people that carried the cloth? Were they slaves or who?

They themselves carried the cloth. Those that had children used them to carry it. In those days they trekked to Ijebu Ode, Lagos and other places. When they left Ilorin they would sleep at Ogbomosho. When they left Ogbomosho they would go as far as Oyo. Then they would go to Lagos. Sometimes it would take them 8 days to get to Ijebu. There were no motors by then.

Were there other people that came to buy cloth from them? Yes, people from Ijebu, Lagos and other places. If they made cloths and they were many and these people did not come for them, then they themselves would have to carry the cloths to these other places.

Does it mean that you people did not have any trade relationship with the people of Bida, Borgu and so on? There was no relationship. Bida people made their own. Ilorin people took their cloth towards Lagos, Ijebu, Shagamu, Ibadan, Ajase and many other places.

 

Could you please explain the act of borrowing money (eto iyani lowo) in making cloth? When people from Lagos, Ijebu and other places came to buy, they paid them. And if Ilorin people themselves took the cloths to them, they bought and paid.

How were the dyers etc. paid? They were paid after they had finished their work.

Was there any arrangement like “let me sell off these cloths, then I will pay you”? No such arrangement. The cotton growers got their money as soon as the lint was bought, likewise the spinners. It was the same with the dyers.

            Having finished the weaving, they would sell off the cloth. If there was any part of the money which had not been paid or could not be paid immediately, then they would leave it and go. If there was any money remaining to be paid, then they would tell the man they would be coming for it, or if not the man would have to send the money through someone. There was no arrangement of borrowing money between them.

 

During that time, what type of money were you using? Cowries (owo e[.]yo[.] oko kan). The slaves were the people that would count it. If they wanted to go and do marketing, it was the slaves that would carry the money. Slaves would carry the cloth from Ilorin to wherever they were going, and slaves would be used to carry the money back. By then the Europeans had not come. When the Europeans came, the first money they brought was anini.

            What brought the Europeans to Ilorin was when the people were fighting among themselves. They asked them to stop and they did not stop, and the Europeans dispersed them. That put an end to the wars.

 

What cloths was Ilorin best known for by then? Aki Alaro, and other types of Alaro, that people came from Ibadan, Lagos and other places to order. There was no European cloth by then. They used their own thread for making their cloth. There was no European thread by then.

 

Could you remember a period before the Europeans came, when there was a boom in the selling of cloth? Before the arrival of the Europeans, there was no place they would take their cloth where they would not sell it. There was never any left over. There was a high demand. If the people were expecting them to bring cloth and they did not, the people would come and sit with them. When they themselves took the cloths [to sell them], the customers would rush. There was no European thread by then.

 

You were saying that the slaves were used in carrying money, and cloth to the south. Where did they get the slaves? They went to Kano to buy them. The slaves were Hausa. Kano was the headquarters of slave traders. Gambari Market [in Ilorin] was the place for slave traders by then. The slaves could be men or women. Sometimes they bought a slave still nursing a child, they bought the 2 together. Some people would like to buy a slave and use her as a wife (e[.]ni tobirin bawu toba fe fi si obirin yio ra). But when the Europeans came, they stopped the buying and selling of slaves.

 

Can you remember where these slaves are today? When they freed the slaves, many of them could not go back home, and remained in the house of their owner. They allowed  them to build their own house [hut?]. They said they should not call them slaves any more, they became children of the house (odio[.]mo[.]le). Some of the slaves that still knew their origin went back. Some that knew other towns went and settled there.

[Another voice interjects] There are no slaves today.

Wherever the slaves were when the announcement was made that there should no longer be slaves, the slaves were freed, and became part of the people (gbogbo ibi fi kaluku wa ti gbogbo eleyi fi se[.]le[.] kaluku ti di onile nibe[.]).

 

Do you remember any changes that occurred when the Europeans came? When the Europeans came, the weavers would take half of their own thread and half of the European thread, then mix the 2 and use them in making the cloth. But today the old thread has almost gone. They have been using European thread completely for the past 40 years (ogun meji). There only remains very little of the original thread.

 

By then, were they being taxed by the Oba on this cloth? The only money they collected from them was their tax money (e[.]nu owo ti wo[.]n gba nigba na ni owo ori) [i.e., “head money”--they did not tax the cloth]. By then they collected 5 shillings from each compound. A compound might contain more than 50 persons--all they had to pay was 5 shillings. When the Europeans came they had to pay 5 shillings per compound. By the time they had divided it up among themselves, some individuals would have less than sisi to pay. But there was no tax on cloth.

 

Who are the people called Gambari? Those people called Gambari in this town came from Hausaland. They were part of the slaves being bought in those days who could not go back to their homeland.

What was the Gambaris’ work? The  women did spinning, the men were butchers. Some of them would go and buy cattle and sell them to the butchers. The women make koko and fura, sell rice and make cheese and so on. Some men make sere (suya).

Does it mean that anybody called Gambari in this town is related to the Hausas? Yes.

Is there any special area in this town that we can point at that these are the people? Yes. It starts from the middle of the Emir’s market (O[.]ja O[.]ba) up to Ita Ajia, to Amilegbe, as far as the bridge before the maternity.

Is there any difference between Hausa and Fulani? There is a difference. Fulanis are at one side, while Hausas are at the other. They both come from the same area. The Hausa came from Kano, the Fulani came from Sokoto. They both came from the north.

Does it mean the Hausa people are the ones entitled to become the Emirs today? No, that is the Fulani.

Do they still speak Hausa? Yes, a little.

 

Slavery

Describe the areas where slaves were being used in this town and what the slaves were used for. They used slaves for farming and the slaves and the owners fed from the farm. If they wanted to sell any farm produce it was the slaves that  would carry it to the market, and bring the money back to the owner.

 

Where did the slaves come from? Hausa. That is where they all came from and that is where people bought them.

 

Do you still remember for how much they bought each slave? According to what my father told me, they bought some for 5 bags of money, some for 10. The price depended on the individual slave.

Please explain how they got these slaves. Were they being captured and put in one place, or would people go to Hausa? These Hausas captured the slaves whenever they went to war. Then they would place them in the market place, and people would go there and choose the one they liked. Whoever would like a woman to be his wife, he would buy, or if he would like a slave to be his child, he would buy (e[.]ni tio ba fe fi si o[.]mo[.] yio ra). If he would like a slave to use for business, he would buy. These people would buy slaves and bring them to Ilorin and resell them.

 

Were there any slave settlements in this town? Yes. The place is Gambari, that is where they sold their slaves. That is where their market was/is. They tied the slaves at the legs so that they would not run away.

 

Were there any special tribal marks for the slaves? No. Each bore his tribe’s marks. The people who bought them would not give them any special mark.

Explain the different types of tribal marks in those days. They made some marks in front of the ear lobes. Some of them did not have marks. People used slaves for farming. Some people bought them and resold them.

Does that mean that apart from weaving your people were farmers as well? Yes. Some of the slaves ran away if they did not tie them down.

 

Could you tell me the relationship between a slave and his master? Did they give the slaves food and many other things? Since the masters owned them, they would always give them the food they would eat in the morning, afternoon and evening. They would give the food to those that knew how to cook, to go and cook it themselves. Those that could not cook were given food from this. As they would do to their own child. Wherever they [the owners] were going, if they liked, they would take them along.

Did you allow the slaves to marry and reproduce? If two slaves were bought, one male and one female, they would put them together to be husband and wife, then the slaves would reproduce. Some of the slaves’ children still remain in Ilorin up till today, that is those that are slaves’ children, whose fathers and mothers were slaves (ara o[.]mo[.] wo[.]n na ko tan ni le[.]yi ni ilu Ilorin ni awo[.]n tio je[.] o[.]mo[.] e[.]ru to je[.] wipe[.] baba niyi e[.]ru obinrin niyi e[.]ru awo[.]n mejeji wo[.]n  wa fun wo[.]n laye lati s[.]e toko[.] ti aya).

 

Were the natives of this place taken as slaves? Or did they take themselves as slaves? Or did they get their slaves when they went to war? When they went to war at Offa, Ikirun, Ado and so many places, including O[.]tun. Any slave caught would be brought home. Some of these slaves whose people had power, their people would come and buy them back, then they took them back home. Some people did not ask about their people taken as slaves, and these became part and parcel of the Ilorin people, that is those that were taken in the Offa War (Ogun Offa). As to this Offa War, it was the Europeans that came to disperse them.

 

This is the end of the interview conducted on 9/7/75 in Singini Quarters, Ilorin . . . with Abdulkareem of Singini Quarters, supported by Mr. Alfa Raji, also of Singini Quarters.

Interview conducted by Otolorin Adesiyun with Mustafa Mesuna, Ilorin, 10 July 1975 (Adesiyun # 2). Translated from the tape by Busayo Simeon [with occasional annotations by Ann O’Hear], August/September 1989.

 

This is the interview conducted on 10/7/75 in Adana Compound, Ilorin. My informant at the interview was Mustafa Mesuna of Adana Compound, aged about 95 years. Present at the interview were the following: Alfa Saliu, Salau, Nurudeen, Mohammar Jimoh.

 

What is your name? Mustafa Mesuna.

Can you remember your father’s name? Abubakari.

Where were you born? This is the place where I was born, at Adana in Ilorin.

Can you remember the Emir who was on the throne when you were born? Moma.

What was your work before you became old? I met weaving, so I was a weaver.

Did you learn any other jobs apart from weaving? No.

Do you remember the work of your father? Cloth weaving.

Did you inherit any farm at all? I cannot farm, I did not inherit any farm.

What did your father bring to Ilorin from his place of origin? They came from Oyo Ile.

Do you remember where your father was born? Okanle Lugba was my father’s father (Okanle Lugba ni awo[.]n to bi baba mi).

Do you remember what led to their leaving Oyo Ile and coming to this place? They wanted to become Muslims. That is why they came to this place.

What type of religion were they following before, at Oyo Ile? Traditional religion (orisa).

Were there any special tribal marks for those people from Oyo Ile? The tribal mark is the one I am wearing, which is called koin.

Where are y our relatives? They have all died.

Do you remember the compound(s) where they were before? Ile Aigbo; Ile Olorombo nita Opomu niyi.

 

Do you remember the name of your mother’s father? Osuma.

Where did they come from? I do not know.

What was your mother’s name? Nana Ayisatu.

Where did she come from? Ile Singini. They were formerly resident at Ile Afa Agaka, at Agaka, before they shifted to Ile Singini.

Can you remember the original place they came from before they settled at Agaka? Was it Oyo Ile? It is a long way.

What was your mother’s work? She wove cloth and sold cloth. Her father was a cloth weaver, before the Europeans came.

Do you remember where the people of Ile Singini originally came from? Kogbai.

 

Textiles

Explain the different cloths they wove before the arrival of the Europeans. White cloth (As[.]o[.] Funfun).

Were there different types? They were not different types. It was pure white (funfun gbalau). Mention different types of cloth they wove. As[.]o[.] Funfun Fuu. They made this white cloth in Ayileri [name of a pattern?]. The type I wove was E[.]tu. That is the one I specialise in up to now. My colleagues in those days would weave Sanyan, E[.]tu.

 

Where did you get the thread? They planted it here. They planted the crop, harvested it, then made the lint into thread and used it for weaving.

Can you remember the area where this cotton was grown? They planted it at the small villages around Ilorin (oko Ilorin). They used slaves on their farms.

Where were these slaves from? They went to war and captured slaves and used the slaves on their farms. The slaves made the thread. They captured both male and female slaves. The men would farm, the women would be harvesting and making the thread.

Do you remember the names of any of the towns where these slaves were being taken from? Lokoja area, Aiyede. The only slave they caught from Aiyede went back and became their Oba.

Were those people making the thread independent on their own? Or under you? The slaves that made thread and those that farmed were under the man I mentioned earlier.

 

Were there people learning weaving under your father? Those people that came to learn came from Iseyin. People from Ogbomosho came too.

Does this mean you did not go to learn weaving from Iseyin? It was the Iseyin people who came to learn. People from Ibadan and Oyo came to learn too.

 

Who were the dyers? The man I have been talking about planted e[.]lu [indigo-like plant used in making dye]. It was this e[.]lu they used in dyeing. They used it in making different colours.

 

Does this mean that those that dyed, farmed and made the thread were under the baba? Yes.

 

From whom did you learn weaving? From my father’s slave(s).

Does this mean you lived together with the slaves? No. I lived with my father. They taught me weaving, which my forefather taught them.

 

Where did you sell this cloth after weaving? Or did buyers come from far away for the cloth? Some people came for the cloth from other places.

Do you remember any 2 or 3 places from which people came for this cloth? Ibadan, Lagos, Iseyin, Oyo.

Did people come from the north to buy cloth? They came from Lokoja and Onitsha side. People from Kano, Borgu, Bida.

Who were the people that carried this cloth? It was the slaves that carried it. The son of their owner would go with them.

Were they armed while going? Yes. They would dress as if they were going to war. They would carry o[.]ko[.] (swords? spears?).

Explain about loaning money in weaving. There was no borrowing.

Were there any cloths being sold off without money being collected? No. If you had your money with you, you would get what you wanted. Those that had money would put the money down and say make me this type of cloth.

 

What types of cloths is Ilorin known for? Re[.]ke[.].

 

Do you remember before the arrival of the Europeans when there was a very high demand for this cloth? During the reign of Oba Mama, Europeans came and met Oba Mama.

In what period was there a cloth boom? During the reign of Oba Sule.

Was there war during that time? No war. It was during his time that the war ended.

 

Explain the changes that occurred when the Europeans arrived. The Europeans took our thread and then brought it back again, like omu e[.]le[.]we[.], omu morawo. The Europeans took our thread and used it for making their own thread which the people call owu lankuri. They took the woven cloth along.

 

Was there any tax charged by the Oba on the cloth? No.

 

What type of money were they using before the arrival of the Europeans? Cowries (owo e[.]yo[.].

After selling their cloth to people at Lagos, Ibadan, Onitsha etc., who normally carried the money home? It was the slaves who carried the cloth and carried the money back.

 

Slaves

How were these slaves obtained? Were they bought, or taken as slaves during war? It was during war that they were taken as slaves.

 

Is there any special place where these slaves live today? We must not name them. If we name them it will cause trouble.

 

Who are the people called Gambari in this town? The Gambari do not know their own home town. [i.e., they were slaves?] They came from the north.

What brought them to this place? (question was not answered by the interviewee, as another person interrupted, saying they came with Alimi)

What was their work? Some wove, some made decorations on cloth (o[.]na as[.]o[.]). They traded.

 

Explain the relationship between slaves and masters before the arrival of the Europeans. If a slave was a woman she would make thread, if a man he would farm.

Who would feed them? Whoever took them as slaves would feed them.

Were they allowed to marry and reproduce? Yes.

When the Europeans came they said there should be no buying and selling of slaves.

Was there any market in those days where slaves were being sold before the arrival of the Europeans? Yes, O[.]ja O[.]ba.

Which market is called O[.]ja Gambari? What did they do there? They sold slaves there? [is the question mark after “there” a typographical error?]

 

(The interviewee did not want to talk further about slaves, so Adesiyun explained that he was a student, he was not going to use the information for anything. The people at the interview said however that he was going to use it, otherwise why would he have come?)

 

The Europeans who came and said they should stop slave trading were being humiliated. This happened at the market place--they would say to the white man, why are you stopping this? The white man’s name was Bower; he was the one being humiliated at the market; they were saying, what was he looking for?

 

Were slaves being taken from this place? They went to war. It was from the war that they brought the slaves.

 

Commerce

Did you rear animals before? Yes, and took some to sell at Ibadan.

Where did you buy these animals? At the market place in Ilorin.

Where did they bring them from? The Hausas brought these animals to this place, then we would buy from them. We took our animals to Lagos, Ibadan, Shagamu.

Who were your companions in those days, who used to sell these animals? Most of them have died.

Was it your parents that taught you how to sell these animals, or how did you start? We were being taught how to buy and sell the animals. We bought them for 2 shillings (sile meji). It was a long time ago.

With whom were you selling these animals? There were 6 of us who combined together, that [?] whenever we went on trips to sell the animals we were up to 18 in number. If we were not as many as that, we would be killed.

How did you share your gain? It was an individual business. Each individual recognised his own animals.

How long did your trip take you? 20 days or more.

Were there places where you would rest or stay overnight? If we left Ilorin for Ibadan we would sleep at Budo Egba. We would leave Budo Egba and get to Ibadan. If we left Ibadan [sic] we would get to a place called Tapa. We would leave Tapa to Ile Oyo, leave Ile Oyo to Olorunda, leave Olorunda to Ibadan [sic].

Did you use slaves? Yes. We used the grandchildren of the slaves (o[.]mo[.] o[.]mo[.] e[.]ru). If the Europeans were to hear that we were still using slaves, they would have arrested us and put us in prison, so we used the slaves’ children [i.e., those who were young?].

What happened to your colleagues in selling animals? Did they become very rich? No.

Did they do any other job when they became very old? Yes, they went back to weaving.

Did you have people working under you that were not slaves? Alhaji Alore that died was part of the group of 16 by then. Alhaji Ile Alasa.

Did you have a leader in your animal selling? No.

Did you sell on credit? No! Why would you need credit when a whole animal was sold for one shilling? Some were sold for a shilling and a half.

 

Were there any other jobs that Ilorin people were known for, apart from weaving and selling animals, before the arrival of the Europeans? They were warriors. They mostly went to war.

You mentioned saraki the other time. Who was saraki in this place in the old days? They were warriors, and leaders and leaders and leaders. They were the 4 Baloguns of this town.

Can you remember where the saraki came from? Were they from the Hausas? No. From Ilorin. Ilorin people were known to be great warriors (jagun pupo). The Gambaris supported Alimi. Our Balogun Ajikobi came from Iseyin. He is a Yoruba.

 

Is there any difference between Fulanis and Gambaris? Balogun Fulani[’s people] are those people related to the Emir, and they came from the north.

What is the difference between Fulani and Gambari? The Gambari have their own mark, fala bamu. The Fulani are light in complexion and thin.

Are they still at Ilorin today? Their forefathers were here.

 

When the Europeans said nobody should call anybody slaves, or take anybody as slaves, those that were released, where do they occupy today? They all dispersed.

Name the areas. I must not mention them.

Are these slaves still existing today? Yes, but I must not mention them.

 

Who are the majority of the people in Gambari area [of Ilorin]? They are the Hausas.

Before the arrival of Alimi, were there Fulani and Gambari? (the answer is interrupted by people coming in. The interviewee seems afraid of the newcomers). No.

(The interviewee then asks Adesiyun to stop.)

 

 

Interview conducted by Otolorin Adesiyun with Alfa Sheu of Alawa Compound, Ilorin, 12 July 1975 (Adesiyun # 6). Translated from the tape by Busayo Simeon [with occasional annotations by Ann O’Hear], August/September 1989.

 

. . . 12/7/75. My informant was Alfa Sheu of Alawa Compound. About 80 years of age. Present at the interview were Alfa Sheu of Akopari Compound; Alfa Ambali.

 

What is your name? Alfa Sheu Alawaye.

Can you remember your father’s name? Alfa Lemo[.]mu Sanusi.

Where were you born? Ilorin.

In what compound? At Koro Saidun, in Alawaye Compound.

What is your work? Weaving.

What was your father’s work? He wove and made decorations (o[.]na).

Can you remember where your father came from? He came from Awaye.

Where is Awaye? Along Iseyin.

What was their work there? They were weavers.

What was your father’s work before he came to Ilorin? He made decorations (o[.]na) on E[.]tu, Sanyan. I met my father weaving cloth.

 

For how many years have you been weaving? I started 1933. Before this time I had learned it for a long time. That year, 1933, we went to Ibadan to make cloth.

Explain the different types of cloth that they weave in Ilorin. First, they wove As[.]o Adaugule[.]. Later on they wove As[.]o[.] Olo[.]na, Reke, E[.]leya, Sanyan, E[.]tu, Alari, Topola, Apele (shoulder cloth for women) and some big cloths that women use, made from our type of thread, before it became the type of today.

 

What were the items of equipment used in making this cloth?  Asa, o[.]ko, o[.]mu, sise[.], agbo[.]nrin, okuku, iyeso[.], ikekere, okeke, iya ofi, aruko[.] ofi ti an gbe agbo[.]nrin le (a base on which they put agbo[.]nrin).

 

 

Where did you get your thread before the Europeans came? My forefathers would sell their cloth to the Hausa area then buy their cotton, the brown (pupa) one. Sometimes, after selling their cloth then they would buy slaves. Then they would bring the slaves home and put them together with the ones they themselves had captured in war. Then they would resell these slaves together with those they had obtained before.

 

Have you ever heard that cotton was being grown in Ilorin or in the villages around Ilorin? Yes, they grew their own cotton in Ilorin. Do you mean before the arrival of the Europeans? Yes, a long time ago. They planted cotton that they used in weaving, that I myself came to meet. There is one type of cotton they call abawa. This type is very smooth and they use it . . . [in a special way] . . .  Likewise, there was cotton at the Hausa area too.

 

Who were the people making the thread? Old women, and people from the small villages around Ilorin. They taught young girls the making of this thread. From the thread they made, the weavers took white (funfun), red (pupa), yellow (ayiri).

Does it mean the people that made thread were separate, and the weavers were separate? Those women that made thread might also know how to weave, if they had been taught.

Where did the weavers get this thread? Was it brought to the market, or did weavers have to go to the villages? It was brought to the market. They used to go to O[.]ja O[.]lo[.]je[.], O[.]ja O[.]ba. The women also sold it at home. They bought the thread at home from old women who taught the young girls thread making and weaving.

 

Were there many people learning the art of weaving? Yes, there were people that came that have got their freedom [i.e., finished their apprenticeship].

Were those people that came to learn being paid by the master, or did they pay the master? Or what was the arrangement? The arrangement revolved within the family. We did not get any money, it is among our own relations. We taught our young ones so that when they grew up they would know what to do. It is only God that knows how many people we have taught. We taught people from Onitsha, Ibadan and many other places like Offa and Oshogbo that came to learn from me. I am a master (o[.]ga kan ni emi je[.])--I was one of those that know how to weave As[.]o[.] Olo[.]na in our compound (the others present confirm this), for example writing names on the cloth, even including something written in English of which I do not know the meaning.

 

Who were the dyers? They used e[.]lu [indigo-like plant] in making the dyeing material (aro). They would harvest the e[.]lu, pound it, then take it to be sold. When I was a child, Kishi people used to bring the e[.]lu. Kishi [town] is after Igbeti. The villages surrounding Ilorin also brought pounded e[.]lu for sale. E[.]lu plants were often seen scattered within the village, before things changed to this present condition at Ilorin. But there are none now. They are [only?] in the bush.

Does it mean that the Igbeti people were the dyers? No, they only bought the dye from them. E[.]lu plants were common at Igbeti, that was why the Igbeti people brought them to those that needed them. Even Ilorin people were also involved in the pounding and selling of e[.]lu,

 

Where did you sell the cloth? At O[.]ja O[.]ba.

Were there people that came from other places to buy cloth? Some people took cloths to Onitsha, Ibadan, Lagos. These were the people that were businessmen, that would buy plenty of cloths, like 20 or 100 etc.

Have you ever travelled to sell cloth before? Yes, I have travelled to Ibadan.

Were there motor vehicles during this time? There were. If the vehicle departed from Ilorin on a particular day, it would arrive in Ibadan the next day. We started off 3 days before the market day.

Have you ever heard of stories from your forefathers about the selling of cloth before there were any motor vehicles? Yes, I heard a little.

How many days did it take your forefathers to get to Ibadan? It depended on how fast individuals could walk.

Were there places where they would rest on their way? Yes. Some would rest at Ogbomosho, while others would just continue the journey.

Did they themselves carry the cloth, or did they have slaves that carried the cloth? Those that had slaves, the slaves would carry the cloth. Those [who] did not have slaves, but had children or junior ones, or those that had people learning weaving under them, could also send them.

 

Explain if there was any credit in weaving. They used to borrow people’s money. The system they used was this: they would say, lend me this amount and my child will stay with you; and when I have the money I will come for the child. This is called iwo[.]fa. You could use your child to borrow money if you were in difficulty.

 

When the villages surrounding Ilorin brought their thread, would the weavers buy the thread without paying immediately? Or have you heard that the people selling thread would allow the weavers to buy without money? When they bought their thread, the weavers could not buy on credit if the sellers did not know the weaver’s house. But if they knew your house, for example if the cotton was worth 10 shillings and you had 7, leaving 3 shillings, the owner of the thread would say all right and would come back on a particular day, and would still bring more thread on that day.

 

Have you ever heard that those who took their cloth to other places to sell it ever left their cloth there and came home? It is possible if they were “customers.” But you would not leave things on credit the first time you went.

 

What kinds of cloth is Ilorin best known for? E[.]tu, Sanyan, Pe[.]tuje[.], Bula, Alari. During the old days, long before the arrival of the Europeans, they used it for marriage. They used their own local thread.

 

Do you remember any period of boom in cloth selling during your father’s time? During rainy season. The reason why they sold it during rainy season is that it is difficult for them to weave during this period.

 

Please explain the changes that took place when the Europeans came. Also what happened when the Europeans brought the new thread? When the Europeans’ thread came, the weavers used it. But they did not abandon their own thread. The reason for this is that people would say they wanted the old type, like Sanyan and Pe[.]tuje[.]. They used the European thread too, to weave cloth, and they made decorations (o[.]na) on it.

Were there any cloths which they used both the European and their own thread to weave? Yes. If I wanted to make Pe[.]tuje[.],  for example, I would take the Europeans’ white thread to make a stripe on the cloth, together with our own thread.

 

Was there any tax on the cloth? No.

Was/is there any organisation (egbe) of the weavers? Yes. There is an organisation among those who take the cloth to Ibadan. There is no such organisation among those who weave cloth.

For how long has this organisation existed? More than 30 years. Even when I was a little child.

What are the functions of this organisation? It is only those still in such an organisation that will know better. But, since we used to go in those days, things have changed.

Is there any rule guiding this organisation that such a type of cloth will be sold at such a price? No. They have a meeting, which they all attend when they return from their trip. We the weavers may not even hear the outcome of their meeting.

Do they make any money contribution? They contribute for their own benefit.

 

[Interviewer:] There was a story that when the Europeans came they learned the art of weaving from Baba Kalu [for whom, see Adesiyun # 11] and brought some people to learn from him. [Answer:] Kalu himself learnt the art of weaving  from someone. We are independent of one another. I do not want to talk backbiting against Kalu. I learnt the art of weaving from my father. [i.e., interviewee does not want to commit himself about what he does not know? Also he wants to bring the conversation back to himself? Answer continues:] My forefather used to buy thread from Birnin Keffi, and up to Zaria, Kaura.

Did they normally sell their cloth in the north? They used to sometimes. Not always. They themselves [northerners] started weaving and it would be useless to take [Ilorin] cloth such a long distance.

 

Slavery

Were slaves ever used here? Yes.

What type of work did they use slaves for? On farms. The master taught the slaves his own personal work.

Did the slaves learn weaving? There are no slaves these days. They teach the slaves’ great-grandchildren. Those cannot be called slaves any longer. When the Europeans came there was no slavery. But people will always be saying it in silence, that so so and so are slaves.

 

Where did these slaves come from? One cannot say particularly that they were Gambari; some were not Gambari. As they captured slaves from them, they also captured slaves from their own side too [i.e., fellow Yorubas?], during the war. For example, during the Offa War, they [Ilorin people] captured people, and their people also captured our side. That is the reason why people always say that this house or that house are so so and so. There are some other people who just migrated to Ilorin that were not slaves at all. They became warriors when they came to Ilorin.

 

Explain how they captured slaves. When they went to war, if they captured 4 and killed 2 of them, the other 2 would surrender, then they would bring them back.

Did they sell them? They might sell them, or not. Some of these slaves have become warriors today [i.e., chiefs]. There are some of them that are so famous that their names will always be remembered.

Such as? (laugh) Like the children of Dada (o[.]mo[.] Dada). They were brought in as slaves.

 

Did they give the slaves any tribal marks? No. The slaves only carried their own tribal marks.

 

Explain the relationship between slaves and masters. How did the masters take care of them? It depended on the individual and how useful the slave was.

Were the slaves allowed to marry? They allowed them to do whatever they liked. They had wives and had children.

 

Was there any market here, before the Europeans came, where slaves were being sold? O[.]ja O[.]ba. Asunara.

What about Gambari Market? Yes.

 

Did Ilorin people capture slaves? They could bring slaves to Ilorin here.

 

Who are the Gambari, and what are the differences between Gambari and  Fulani in Ilorin? They have different languages.

Where did the Fulani come from? and the Gambari? The Fulani came from Sokoto, the Gambari from Katsina. The origin of Hausa is from Katsina.

When the Hausa came to this place, what type of work were they doing? The work they had already been doing at home. Some sell shoes, some sell perfume, some do laundry. Some learned tailoring, some are butchers, some are alfa, some sell sere (suya).

What type of work do the Fulani do? They rear cattle. They live in the bush mostly.

 

Who are the saraki in this place? The chiefs.

What about the Baloguns? Because they went to war, and because of the war they called them balogun.

Who were the people that captured the slaves? Those that God gave the power.

 

 

Interview conducted by Otolorin Adesiyun with Abdul Lasisi, Pakata, Ilorin, 14 July 1975 (Adesiyun # 8). Translated from the tape by Busayo Simeon [with occasional annotations by Ann O’Hear], August/September 1989.

 

Interview conducted on 14/7/75 in Pakata. . . . Informant is Alfa Abdul Lasisi, about 60 years of age. Present at the interview is Rasaq Salau, a student.

 

What is your name? Alfa Abdul Lasisi.

What was your father’s name? Alfa Abdul Asiz Aminu.

Where were you born? Pakata.

What is your work? Weaving. I met weaving from my mother and father.

Do you remember where your father came from before he came to this place? I did not ask him.

How long ago did you start weaving? About “35 years” [spoken in English]. Over 40 years.

Have you ever heard of weaving in the old days? Yes.

From where? From my father.

What was your father’s work? A weaver. Then, he taught Islamic religious knowledge (keu). After weaving the cloth, they made it into garments (e[.]wu) and sold it.

 

Can you explain what you heard about weaving, especially before the Europeans came?  They planted cotton, then harvested it, and made the lint into thread, and from the thread they made the cloth. Having finished weaving, they made it into garments.

What were the cloths that they wove in those days? They used this thread to weave Bula Funfun. It is the same cloth they call Kitipa. They could also dye Kitipa. That was the type my father was specialising in.

What other types of cloths were other compounds weaving in those days, like Ile Singini, Ile Adana, and Baba Kalu [see Adesiyun # 11]?  The olden days cloth was Bula, As[.]o[.] Olo[.]na came later. There was also E[.]tu.

 

What are the instruments used in making these? As[.]a, o[.]ko[.], o[.]mu, okuku. Okuku is the one spread outside, where the cloth is hung up. Agbonrin is the one used under the cloth. There is also ikabe. That is the one used to hold the cloth.

 

Where did they get the thread? They made it themselves. It was the black men that made it.

Have you ever heard from your father that they planted the cotton themselves? Even I myself had a farm in which I planted the cotton that I used. It was the women who made the thread.

Were there cotton plants grown at Ilorin during those days? Yes.

But there were some weavers who bought their thread for weaving? That is true.

 

Who were the people working on your father’s cotton farm? Slaves. My father had slaves then.

Where did they bring the slaves from? If they went to war, people captured slaves. They also sold slaves.

Where did people normally sell slaves? There was a special house where they sold slaves, called Ile Arowoe[.]ru. They would buy the slaves, then people would buy slaves from them.

What other jobs did they use slaves for? They used slaves on the farm.

Was it only farming that they used the slaves for? Yes.

Who were the people making thread? Women.

Were the thread makers under your father? They were my father’s wives. My father had many wives. They were in purdah (e[.]le[.]ha). They did not go out. They stayed indoors and made the thread.

Does it mean there were slaves that made the thread as well as your father’s wives? Yes.

 

Were there apprentices under your father? There were, like children of the family.

Were there others who came from far off to learn weaving? Yes. When people became aware (or when civilisation [o[.]laju] came), they started coming.

Do you remember any place from which people came to learn? Ekiti, Ibadan, Ijebu Ode. It was only Iseyin that did not learn weaving from Ilorin. Iseyin people were known to have been weaving for quite some time in those days.

Could you say Iseyin people came to learn from Ilorin, or vice versa? Nobody can tell. Anyone that says Iseyin people came to learn is telling a lie. The one thing that differentiated Ilorin and Iseyin was the different patterns that they made. The different things that Ilorin people knew, Iseyin people did not know. Our own o[.]na that we make on the cloth, Iseyin people do not know. They only weave Kure.

Those people who came from Ibadan, etc., did they go back after learning, or did they stay behind? If so, can you point to certain families that stayed behind? There are none.

Did they pay for learning? No. They work for the master.

 

Who were the dyers? My father’s wives. They made the thread and also dyed.

Where did they get the e[.]lu [indigo-like plant] etc.? From farms. The ashes (? laru) they used were made by themselves.

They would put e[.]lu in the pot. They fermented the ash (eru), then they filtered the ash and put the filtrate into the pot that contained the e[.]lu, then it became dye (aro). They would use taroji to activate the dye. Before the Europeans came they were doing all these things. They could dye cloth any different colours that pleased them.

Who were working on the e[.]lu farms? There were some people who planted e[.]lu.

Can you remember any place from which people used to bring e[.]lu to Ilorin? From Shaki, Igbeti. These were the 2 places.

Was there any market where people bought e[.]lu? O[.]ja O[.]ba, O[.]ja O[.]lo[.]je[.], Pakata, in those days.

 

Explain how they sold their cloth, after weaving and dyeing. Were there people who came from other places, or did they themselves take cloth to other places? Also I would like to know the prices for which they sold the different types of cloth, from the stories you heard. [Answer:] After weaving, they would take the cloth to those that they called Arinhoho (those that went naked). The “West” [in English].

Ekiti? Yes.

Ikare? Yes.

Lokoja? Yes. They normally trekked to Lokoja. It took 30 days to get there, and they would buy other things.

What did they bring from Lokoja? I cannot remember.

[Interviewer:] I heard that before the Europeans came they used cowries (owo e[.]yo[.]). [Answer:] They normally used trade by barter before the Aguda (interviewer suggests this means “Portuguese”). When the Aguda came, they started using cowries. In the trade by barter, they would exchange with whatever the other people had.

Who were the people that carried the cowries home? People carried them on their heads, and those with slaves used slaves.

 

What is the difference between slaves (e[.]ru) and iwo[.]fa? When the Europeans came and there was no slavery, they started using iwo[.]fa. If someone was in need of money he could take his child to a person with money and say “let my child stay with you, lend me this amount, then I will pay you back,” or, if he could not, the child would stay with the leader and work for him until the work could pay for the debt.

 

Explain about credit in the selling of cloth. Did they sell on credit or were there “customers” in those days? They normally took their cloths from house to house as hawkers. Sometimes they just displayed them in the market place. They only sold on credit to their “customers,” but not to those they did not know.

Does it mean that where they normally rested, on the way to their destinations, they could not give their cloth to their friends to sell for them and collect their money next time? There was such a thing in those days. This was a kind of credit system.

 

For what cloths is Ilorin specially known? As[.]o[.] Olo[.]na, Eleya.

[Interviewer:] You have not mentioned Bida, Borgu, Kainji, Kano. Does this mean that, before the Europeans came, Ilorin people did not go to sell cloth in these towns, and did not go there to buy thread? They normally went to Kano to buy thread, and sometimes Kano people would bring down thread for sale. Kano people know how to weave Bula, the Nupe people also weave Bula. They do not weave any other cloth except Bula Funfun.

 

In those days, when they took cloth to Bida or Zaria to sell, have you ever heard that they normally captured or bought slaves? No.

Does this mean that there are no Hausa (Gambari) people who were slaves in Ilorin? There is a group called Kemberi that are slaves in Ilorin. They came from the Hausas.

Who are the people called Gambari in this place? The Gambari came from Kano, Zaria, Katsina.

How do you differentiate between Fulani and Gambari? They have different languages.

Were there any special kinds of work for Fulani or Gambari? Fulani rear cattle. The Gambaris trade. They bring down cattle.

What of kola? Kola came from the West.

How did the Gambari come to this town? The Yoruba that first came to this place lived at Idiape, but they could not stay there alone. This is when Alfa Alimi came. They met Alfa Alimi while they were hunting. They told Alfa Alimi that if he could make it possible for their town to stand against the force of the enemy, they would be very happy. That was how Alfa Alimi came to Ilorin. They are Fulani, it is their family that becomes Emir (O[.]ba).

 

Explain if there was any period before the Europeans came when there was a boom in cloth selling. No special occasion. There was nothing like Christmas. They had Islamic festivals (o[.]dun imo[.]le), then the indigenous festivals (olosa). During these periods they sold a lot, like during the festival of O[.]yaa.  During the O[.]yaa festival the market must be changed.

What happened during rainy season? We did not have chance to weave. Everywhere would be damp. We farmed during that period.

 

Explain the changes that took place when the Europeans came.

[Answer:] European thread is very easy to weave with, and they made different cloths too. They wove Olo[.]na, Eleya. The young ones learning how to weave these days cannot weave with our own type of thread.

What is the difference between your own thread and the European thread? Our own thread is not as smooth. Our own type is very heavy, the European thread is very light.

Which type of thread will spoil easily? The one [cloth] which we used our own thread to weave lasts longer than that of the Europeans.

 

Were their cloths being taxed in those days, especially by the Emir of Ilorin? The Emir did not take any tax, but they had to be prepared, as if for war, when they went on their business trips, in case of being hijacked on the way. They went in groups.

Was there any organisation in those days? No.

Why do they call Baba Kalu [see Adesiyun # 11] Olori As[.]o[.] (Head of Cloth) of this place? There is nothing like Olo[.]ri As[.]o[.]. There was no organisation. Individuals stay separately. Up till now, there is no Olo[.]ri As[.]o[.].

Those that normally grouped themselves and travelled to Ibadan, was there any organisation of them? Individuals do whatever they like, but joining hands together is a kind of advantage, and that is why they group themselves together and have meetings.

Is there any law that this is how much they are going to sell cloth for when they get to Ibadan? Nothing like that. They had proposed such things before, but it was impossible. This was because there was no Olori who could enforce the law.

Does this mean that there is no-one of whom we can say in particular, this man knows how to weave very well? There is no such thing.

 

 

Interview conducted by Otolorin Adesiyun with Alfa Salimonu, Isale Oja, Pakata, Ilorin, 14 July 1975 (Adesiyun # 10). Translated from the tape by Busayo Simeon [with occasional annotations by Ann O’Hear], August/September 1989.

 

. . . Interview conducted on 14/7/75 in Isale Oja, Pakata. My informant was Alfa Salimonu, about 90 years of age.

 

What is your name? Yahaya.

What was your father’s name? Usman.

Where were you born? Pakata Isale Oja.

What was your work? I worked with motor vehicles. I was the first man to bring a motor vehicle to Ilorin.

 

Commerce and Slavery

What was your father’s work? A weaver. But I myself have never been a weaver. My father would go to the north and buy slaves and cattle from the Hausa.

What was your father’s senior brother’s work? He and my father did the same work. Sometimes they took their cattle to Lagos and sold them to Aguda [see Adesiyun # 8, where interviewer suggests this means “Portuguese”] people.

Where did your father come from? Ikoyi.

How far is Ikoyi from Ilorin? A day’s walk.

With whom did you start your business? I did not start at Ilorin. I learned my work at Lagos. I learned my work from Engineer Daudu.

 

You have talked about slaves. During that time, had the Europeans arrived? No. When the Europeans came, they disturbed slavery. It was the Europeans who stopped the whole thing. [Ilorin people] used to sell slaves to Egba people. The Oibo Aguda met them at Lagos.

Does it mean in those days there were traders that went to Kano and Sokoto? Yes. They went there to buy slaves and cattle.

Where did they put these slaves brought from the north? They sold them in the market. Egbe people came to buy. There were wars during that time. They fought at Odo O[.]tin.

Does it mean they did not capture slaves from Yorubaland? They brought slaves from Hausaland and sold them to Yoruba people.

Was there any slave market in this place? Yes. O[.]ja O[.]ba, O[.]jude Abudu. There were wars. It was the whites that stopped slavery. My father had 22 slaves.

What did they use the slaves for? On the farm. They planted cassava, guinea corn, cotton etc. The cotton was used for weaving cloth. There were some whites who came and asked the same sort of questions that you are asking.

Were there any settlements of slaves? They did not settle anywhere. If you brought slaves, you would go and sell them, and if another man brought slaves, he would sell them. If you could not sell the slaves, women could buy them, if they had the money. They used cowries, and not shillings.

 

Were there any special tribal marks they gave to slaves, to identify them? The Hausa people had their own marks. The Beriberi had their own marks. If they had no tribal mark, the owner could give them any mark he liked, to identify them as slaves.

Would the owner give a slave his own type of tribal mark? If he liked.

 

You said slaves were used on the farm. Did they trade in e[.]lu [indigo-like plant]? Yes. What else do you want us to use them for? They planted e[.]lu, maize, yam.

 

Tell me the relationship between the slave and his master. [Answer:] With regards to love, if you bought a man and a woman slave, then they would marry each other. The 2 would be slaves and they would be giving birth to children. The slave child would be the child of the slaves. And all together were slaves of the owner.

 

Was it possible to buy a slave and use her as your wife? Yes.

 

You mentioned a market where they sold slaves. What is the name of the market? O[.]ja O[.]ba.

What about Gambari Market? [in Ilorin] The Hausa people set that one up by themselves.

 

Does it mean that when the Europeans came and said there was to be no slavery, there were some people who were slaves in Ilorin, but whose names should not be mentioned? Yes. One should not mention their names. It is the children of the children of the slaves that remain today. We still recognise that so-and-so is a slave. We can distinguish that so-and-so is not part of us.

 

Did they capture slaves from Ilorin? They did not take slaves from Ilorin. They could only take slaves if the war got into the town.

Were there some warriors known for capturing slaves? Yes, like Ologun [Balogun] Alanamu. Their forefathers were warriors.

What about the saraki? They were the ones they called Alanamu, they were warriors. Balogun Gambari was a warrior. Balogun Ajikobi was a warrior. Balogun Fulani. If one was not a warrior he would not become a chief. It was only the warriors that had titles.

 

Apart from those slaves that stayed at Ilorin, could you remember where the slaves went to? Everyone returned to his/her place of origin. Those that were Hausa returned to Hausaland. Those that were Gbari returned to their area. Those that were Nupe, Bornu, Jiga, they all went back to their respective places. There was iwo[.]fa, which they used for borrowing money. The Europeans said they should stop the whole thing. The Europeans condemned them.

 

What happened when the Europeans said there should be no slaves? Their farmwork was spoiled.

When the Europeans said there should be no slavery, were there slaves that decided they would stay with their master, because he had been good to them? Yes. There were some who stayed with the master, built their own house, and gave birth to children. We ourselves know they are children of slaves.

 

[Interviewer:]. . . The informant claimed to be the first man to bring a motor to Ilorin, but he cannot remember the date. . . .

You said you were the first to bring a motor vehicle to Ilorin. Where did you go with this vehicle? How did you buy it? Was it bought for you, or did you buy it by yourself? They did not buy it for me, I bought it for myself at Lagos, at John Holt. “Rio.” I used to go to O[.]tun, Ogudu and Jebba. There were some whites, one of them was called “How Much.” The whites would rent my motor and pay me, but I did not work under them.

What type of goods did you take to O[.]tun and other places? Kola. I would bring passengers coming to Ilorin market, and take them back. I also travelled to Egusi, on the way to Ado. The people of Egusi sold ground fried maize (adidun). The cement used in building the bridges to Ilorin was brought to Ilorin by my vehicle, which the white man rented from me. There was no bridge in those days, they used plywood.

When you brought your work to Ilorin, were there people learning under you? Yes, plenty of people.

Where are those people today? Some are alive, some have died.

Does it mean you did not learn any other work, except motor work? No, I specialised in motor work.  I bought another vehicle from UAC. “Chavlej.”

How did you get to Lagos? I went when I was a child.

Did you go by yourself? No, they took me there. I followed my father there. Then they asked me to learn under Mr. Daudu. But slavery had stopped around this time. Slavery by then was far behind.

While you were doing motor work, were there other people working under you, and you all put money together to buy a motor? The only person I worked together with was the present Oni of Ife, Asoji Aderemi. But those that learned under me went and established themselves on their own.

How did you share your profits? Soji Aderemi paid me. I worked for him as one of his drivers. I worked for him and the Oni bought 6 vehicles before I left Ife. By that time he was not yet Oni, the Oni that was reigning was Ajagun.

Did you have any other job apart from driving? No, I have not had any other job.

Who is now doing your work for you? Did any of your children learn driving as a trade? No.

When there were other people who bought your type of vehicle, was there any organisation among them? No.

Did you take your vehicle to Hausaland? There were no roads in those days. If the railway took you to a place close to the River Niger, there was sitimo, which we used in order to cross the river. That was when they were building the railway line.

How did they manage to convey the slaves across the river? They used o[.]ko[.]ojumi.

 

 

3.4 Notes on the condition of the Adesiyun cassettes (written some years ago)

  • The volume is sometimes very low.

  • Tape 5 has no corresponding Oral Data Index translation. It seems to be a first interview with Alh. Y.K. Olabintan, prior to Tape 11 (Tape 11 was used for the Oral Data Index, and for the fuller translation that Ann organised; both the Oral Data Index and the fuller translation are included in the O’Hear Archive, Section 3).

  • Tape 11: Tape 11b is the first part of interview 11 and Tape 11a is the second part.

  • Tape 16 is just a repeat of Tape 15, so it should be disregarded

  • The present tape 17 actually corresponds with Oral Data Index number 16, so the present Tape 17 needs to be renumbered as Tape 16.

  • I have found no tape that corresponds with Oral Data Index number 17.

  • There are some discrepancies in dates between the Oral Data Index and the tapes.