The Nupe (traditionally called the Nupawa by the Hausas and Tapa by the neighbouring Yoruba) are an ethnic group native to North Central Nigeria. They are the dominant ethnic group in Niger State and a minority in Kwara State. The Nupe are also present in Kogi State and The Federal Capital Territory.[4][5]

Nupe people
Watercolour drawing of a Nupe woman by Carl Arriens (1911)
Total population
c. 3.5 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
Sunni Islam[2][3]
Related ethnic groups
Gbagyi, Igala, Yoruba, Ebira, Kambari, Kamuku, Bariba, Dukawa

History edit

The Nupe trace their origin to Tsoede who fled the court of Idah and established a loose confederation of towns along the Niger in the 15th century.[6][7] The proximity of Nupe to the Yoruba Igbomina people in the south and to the Yoruba Oyo people in the southwest led to cross-fertilization of cultural influences through trade and conflicts over the centuries.[8] In his book The Negro, African-American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois wrote that Nupe trade may have extended as far as Sofala and the Byzantine Empire, with the latter of which, according to what he termed "credible legend," there was even an exchange of embassies.[9]

Population and demography edit

There are probably about 4.5 million Nupes,[10] principally in Niger State. The Nupe language is also spoken in Kwara, Kogi and Federal Capital Territory. They are primarily Muslims, with some Christians and followers of African Traditional Religion. The Nupe people have several local traditional rulers. The Etsu Nupe (Bida) is not pure Nupe, his great-grandfather from his father side is Fulani, while the family of his mother was complete Nupe. His great-grandfather from his father side came to rule Bida in 1806 during the Sokoto jihad. They have no present capital, although they were originally based at Raba and only moved to Bida in the 19th century.[11]

Nupe part in Nigeria

Traditions, art and culture edit

The Nupe people have various traditions. Many practices have changed as a result of the movements started by Sokoto jihad of the 19th century, but they still hold on to some of their culture. Many Nupe people often have tribal marks on their faces (similar to an old Igala tradition), some to identify their prestige and the family of which they belong as well as for protection, as well as jewellery adornment. But these traditions are dying out in certain areas.

Their art is often abstract. They are well known for their wooden stools with patterns carved onto the surface.[12][13]

The Nupe were described in detail by the ethnographer Siegfried Nadel, whose book, Black Byzantium, remains an anthropological classic.

Examples of Nupe art edit

Music and entertainment industry edit

A Nupe cavalryman wearing lifidi (padded armour). Drawn in 1911 by Carl Arriens.

Nupe traditional music is sung by the Ningba, or musician(s), while the Enyanicizhi beats the drum. Legendary Nupe singers of memory include Hajiya Fatima Lolo[14] Alhaji Nda'asabe, Hajiya Nnadzwa, Hauwa Kulu, Baba-Mini, Ahmed Shata and Ndako Kutigi.

The prime-movers of the Nupe cinema started film-making since the late 1990s into the early 2000s. Great Nupe personalities that birthed the idea of producing, acting and directing Nupe dramas/comedies on-screen are late Sadisu Muhammad DGN,[15] Prince Ahmed Chado, late Prince Hussaini Kodo, M.B. Yahaya Babs and Jibril Bala Jibril. They are the people who made the move for Nupe dramas to be on-screen and are the founders of the modern-day Nupe film industry[16] known as Nupewood.[17] Nupewood has since produced more than a thousand entertaining movies in Nupe space to the millions of Nupe audiences.

Notable Nupe people edit

Nupé Woman (1888) by Élisée Reclus

References edit

  1. ^ "Nupe" (PDF). National African Language Resource Center. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  2. ^ Umaru Ndagi, Muhammad (January 2012). "Muslims of Niger State: A Survey" (PDF). University of Oxford. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Nupe", Britannica.
  4. ^ Nadel, S. F. (2018), "The Nupe Creed", Nupe Religion, Routledge, pp. 1–37, doi:10.4324/9780429487446-1, ISBN 978-0-429-48744-6, S2CID 240243198
  5. ^ Yahaya, Mohammed Kuta (2003). "The Nupe People of Nigeria". Studies of Tribes and Tribals. 1 (2): 95–110. doi:10.1080/0972639x.2003.11886489. ISSN 0972-639X. S2CID 158674479.
  6. ^ Mason, Michael (1975). "The Tsoede Myth and the Nupe Kinglists: More Political Propaganda?". History in Africa. 2: 101–112. doi:10.2307/3171467. ISSN 0361-5413. JSTOR 3171467. S2CID 154712112.
  7. ^ Lawal, Babatunde, 1942-. Tsoede, Sango, and the Nupe bronzes. OCLC 57969198.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Forde, Cyril Daryll. (1955). The Nupe. OCLC 35809832.
  9. ^ Du Bois, W.E.B., The Negro, pp.28 and 49 (Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2001) (retrieved Jan. 20, 2024).
  10. ^ "AFRICA | 101 Last Tribes - Nupe people". Retrieved 2023-02-18.
  11. ^ Katcha, Abubakar. (1978). An exploratory demographic study of the Nupe of Niger State: the case of Sakpe village. Australian National University. ISBN 0-909150-60-5. OCLC 5021109.
  12. ^ Nadel, S. F. (2018-09-03). Nupe Religion. doi:10.4324/9780429487446. ISBN 9780429487446. S2CID 240282086.
  13. ^ Nadel, S. F. (Siegfried Frederick) (22 August 2018). Nupe religion. ISBN 978-1-138-59670-2. OCLC 1061313933.
  14. ^ Umar, Aliyu. Hajiya Fatima Lolo (traditional singer). OCLC 39524822.
  15. ^ "Nupe Film Industry".
  16. ^ "Nupe film industry is currently heading for the rocks – Yikangi". BluePrint. 9 February 2015.
  17. ^ Perani, Judith (2003). Nupe. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.t063036.

Sources edit

  • Blench, R. M. (1984), "Islam among the Nupe." Muslim peoples. (edn 2), Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.
  • Forde, D. (1955), "The Nupe". pp. 17–52 in Peoples of the Niger-Benue Confluence. London: IAI.
  • Ibrahim, Saidu (1992), The Nupe and their neighbours from the 14th century. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books.
  • Madugu, George I. (1971), "The a construction in Nupe: Perfective, Stative, Causative or Instrumental". In Kim, C-W., & Stahlke, H., Papers in African Linguistics, I, pp. 81–100. Linguistic Research Institute, Champaign.
  • Perani, J. M. (1977), Nupe crafts; the dynamics of change in nineteenth and twentieth century weaving and brassworking. Ph.D. Fine Arts, Indiana University.
  • Stevens, P. (1966), Nupe woodcarving. Nigeria, 88:21–35.
  • Yahaya, Mohammed Kuta, The Nupe People of Nigeria. Nigeria, 95:1–2