The Queen of Kumbwada
April 8, 2010 6:31 PM   Subscribe

No man dares sit on this Nigerian throne: In Kumbwada, a curse has assured that only women will reign, locals say. And so far, the current queen pronounces, it has worked out better this way. Welcome to "the genteel court of Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed," where "an ancient curse keeps males off the throne." (via)

More photos of the queen.

From the LA Times: In Nigeria's conservative Islamic north, women are barred from ruling, except in the kingdom of Kumbwada....For years, there have been hostile mutterings among northern Islamic clerics in other tribal kingdoms that the curse against male rulers amounts to witchcraft....Musa Muhammad, the chief imam of Kumbwada, defended the queen, saying Kumbwada's position was unique. "We can't live without a leader, and the fact that any male rulers that ascend the throne die quickly and mysteriously while female rulers reign for many years makes our case a peculiar one," Muhammad says. "This is an exceptional situation none of us can change."...

"My only handicap is that I don't have a Western education,"
[the Queen says], "because in my time, people didn't educate their daughters. I'm not educated in the modern way, but in the traditional way, I have wisdom in my dealings with people."

Previously: Nigerian children and witchcraft killings; Nigerian women and Nigeria's Sharia Law; Nigerian men and magical penis theft.
posted by sallybrown (24 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 


Seems like we could do with a few more of these type of curses.
posted by gomichild at 6:54 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've been trying to curse a number of high command positions if held by the Bat-shit-insane, but you know, what with this secular society we live in...
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 7:21 PM on April 8, 2010


Wow. Western education could use some of what she's got too.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:18 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is a cool story, and, tangentially, the comments in the linked Jezebel article are basically the Platonic ideal of Jezebel comments.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:28 PM on April 8, 2010


Fascinating report-- but you can now begin the countdown for that village to be swarmed by anthropologists, and perhaps even a few visitors with malign intent.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:47 PM on April 8, 2010


As someone with a major in Religious Studies I shouldnt really say this but...freakin' sweet.
posted by New England Cultist at 9:01 PM on April 8, 2010


And yet Nigerian princes keep sending me e-mails....
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:22 PM on April 8, 2010


As someone with a degree in Anthropology I shouldn't say this, either, but... freakin' sweet. :)
posted by the_royal_we at 9:31 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm all for female rulers, and this woman sounds very competent, but the men all "mysteriously take ill" if they try to accede to the throne? That seems a little weird. Witchcraft? Not harry potter style, but if they are talking about having a solid knowledge of local herbs... I dunno. I'd have to see the details, but I don't believe in curses, so it's either a very weird coincidence, a misrepresented history, or someone's not playing fair.
posted by mdn at 9:39 PM on April 8, 2010


Mdn, I would submit that anyone, anywhere will take ill or seem to if they sincerely believe that they are under a malign influence, regardless of our preoccupation with rationality. Keep in mind that we're probably talking about a situation where this sort of legend is distributed in a community along with lots of other facts about the world that are true, and comes to people from trusted sources of information.

I hope that female leadership will become a more normal thing globally in the near future, and while this is anomalous, it shows at least that the sky doesn't fall when women are in charge. A very interesting story, and good on the LA Times for taking it, though how could they not, really. Nigeria is one of the most difficult countries to report from in Africa, so I've heard it said, although that may have been in reference specifically to Lagos, which is the world's leading engine of innovation for confidence schemes.

I knew a reporter in Uganda who moved to Lagos to be a wire's correspondent. She needed to purchase a vehicle, so she found a used car for a reasonable price. She looked at it in detail, checked carefully under the hood, drove the thing, did everything you would do when buying a car in the west and beyond. She could not have been more careful. She shows up to buy the car, hands over the money. Gets in. It doesn't start. She pops the hood to try a field fix. There's no engine in the car. Everyone's gone by now. She tries phoning. Suddenly, all her contacts for the purchase seem to have simultaneously lost their phones. No trace, no way of even knowing that anything ever happened, except that she's sitting in a car without an engine somewhere in Lagos. Lagosian con artists make Verbal Kint look like a stuttering goon. These are magicians of hustle.
posted by clockzero at 10:38 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not educated in the modern way, but in the traditional way, I have wisdom in my dealings with people.

Thinking back to the previous thread on erotic capital bla bla this has to be the most powerful sentence ever, here, in this context.
posted by infini at 10:59 PM on April 8, 2010


I'm sorry, but I don't see how anybody can take joy in a culture being so thoroughly bound by superstition that an entire gender has been removed from consideration for leadership - regardless of which gender that might be.

There have been an increasing number of moments where Metafilter makes me feel like I'm the only person who's interested in genuine *equality* for the sexes, rather than simply flipping the dominant paradigm for a different style of tyranny.
posted by Ryvar at 11:58 PM on April 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, Ryvar:

You sure have nailed it: all of Metafilter thinks only women can reign, and you are the sole voice of reason in the wilderness of superstitious female supremacy. Thank the Gender Neutral Pac Person that you showed up to speak truth to the dominant feminist powers, especially in calling out this tyrannical female leader.

I expect that we'll hear about all the work that men are doing in Nigeria to reverse Sharia law. And how witnessing competent women at work sets back the clock on genuine *equality*.
posted by palindromic at 12:36 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Down with the matriarchy!
posted by breath at 12:43 AM on April 9, 2010


All he did was say he wanted to succeed his mother, then still alive. He was immediately taken ill. The prince was rushed to a distant kingdom, where he eventually recovered. He never returned.

Well, that's shriekingly naive.

...for the last time, Jimmy Hoffa ascended bodily into witness protection from the Dome of the Rock, buoyed on a cloud of Metafilter favorites. And there's no such thing as a hole in the desert. Or a New Jersey. Now go to sleep!
posted by kid ichorous at 1:04 AM on April 9, 2010


Let us rejoice in their unfounded superstition and in our warped sense of "equality".
posted by jpcooper at 2:15 AM on April 9, 2010


Metafilter makes me feel like I'm the only person who's interested in genuine *equality* for the sexes

I TOTALLY agree with you, buddy. This is just another thing that "only women" are allowed to do in our so-called equal society. Sit on the throne of Kumbwada, slay the Witch-King of Angmar, talk about your feelings ... it's like there's NO JOBS FOR MEN ANYMORE.

It just makes me feel ... something ... well anyway I don't wanna talk about it.

I'll be in my shed. No, I'm not sulking I just got things to do. Yeah, see ya.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:47 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


> I'm all for female rulers, and this woman sounds very competent, but the men all "mysteriously take ill" if they try to accede to the throne? That seems a little weird.

> Jimmy Hoffa ascended bodily into witness protection

Well, yeah.

But it's a given that if you're in line for the throne-- and certainly if you're sitting on it already--, you should be a bit wary of home-cooking from the next person in succession.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:20 AM on April 9, 2010


While I have to agree that it seems a suspicious that the menfolk take mysterious ill if they try for the throne, it sounds like the reigning queen is doing some good things for her people, and that's something I can support whether the do-gooder is a man or a woman.
posted by chatongriffes at 10:59 AM on April 9, 2010


Belittle and dismiss all you want, palindromic and the quidnunc kid, but I'm with Ryvar. Positions of power really need to not be determined by genitalia.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:23 PM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, I see your point: this ancient curse has obviously been cast from a dark and sorcerous vagina. When will we be free of the tyranny of vaginal aeaeae?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:03 PM on April 9, 2010


But Lo! It appears that Penis Trismegistus hath man-dated a different rule for other Nigerian Kingdoms. What hope hath Vagina Bimaxima against his magic missle? The endless war between these powerful archmages brings only ruin and waste to all our small-holdings, unless we make a "saving throw".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:20 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Positions [of power] really need to not be determined by genitalia.
posted by infini at 11:15 PM on April 9, 2010


« Older $20, less than in town   |   Always End with Poopy-Head Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments