Traditional cloth weaving trade going extinct -Kano weaver
Malam Abdullahi Lawan, a weaver of traditional attires for over 45 years, says their trade is fast losing value and may go extinct earlier than expected.
Lawan, who expressed concern over this development, told NAN in Kano, that patronage of traditional attires had reduced drastically, forcing many of his colleagues in business to quit the trade.
He further said that as a result of that development , some of them still in the business produced attires ‘on demand’, as against in the past when same were produced in numbers because market was guaranteed.
The traditional attires are produced in Minjibir, Gwarzo, Bichi, Makoda and Danbatta Local Government Areas in Kano State.
Alhaji Aliyu Kadawa, a seller of traditional attires in Kano, also narrated the same ordeal, saying he had been in the business for the past 30years.
According to him, business is not booming now because, ‘very few’ people patronise traditional attires, in spite of the high population.
“We need to change the attitude of our people to patronise our traditional attires; this will also go a long way in preserving our rich cultural heritage,” he said.
Also, NAN checks indicated that the trade of dyeing of clothes, inherited from ancestors hundreds years ago, is also facing similar challenge.
In Kafar-Mata area of Kano, which used to have over 100 functional dyeing pits established over 500 years ago, more than two third of them had been abandoned for lack of patronage.
Abbas Yusuf, said that had been in the dyeing business for over 28 years, lamented that all the youth he trained to engage in the trade, had switched to other businesses for lack of patronage.
According to him, the dyeing pits have almost become mere ‘tourism sites’ where visitors come to have nostalgic feeling of the good old days before things started “falling apart.”
He attributed the low patronage to the deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country, and the current economic situation.
A lecturer with the Department of History, Bayero University, Kano, Dr Sama’ila Suleiman, said one way of checking the drift, was for government to intensify its support for agencies responsible for promoting cultural values.
“The agencies are the most important institutions that the government can use to preserve and promote our cultural values,” he said.
Suleiman also called on tertiary institutions in the country to introduce dress code that would ensure that students wore traditional attires that promote decency.
Another lecturer, Dr Ahmad Magaji of the Department of Nigerian Languages, Bayero University, Kano, called on the state governments to discourage use of western attires, to boost indigenous cultural heritage.
“Leaders should also continue to wear cultural dresses so that people can copy from them,” he advised.
On her part, the Director, Culture, Ministry of Culture and Tourism,Kano State, Mrs Binta Bala, said that it was necessary to promote culture and traditions of the ancient city, to boost the economy.
Bala said that the state government had organised cultural exhibitions, as well as participated in cultural festivals both within and outside the country.
She said those activities were part of efforts to promote traditional attires and fabrics produced from Kano.
The director further said that this way, government hoped to change the mindset of people towards patronsing locally made attires, thereby enhancing the economy of the state, and country at large.
“Lets start with changing our orientation by shifting our mindset and preference for anything imported and foreign made, to patronising made in Nigeria products, in order to boost our economy,” she admonished .