REMEMBERING HAUSA MUSIC ICON AT TWENTY-FIVE: RUMINAGING, SCAVENGING THROUGH MY DR. SHATA DIARY

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By A. I. Kankara

Unimaginably, wretchedly, today, Tuesday, June, 18th, 2024, Dr. Alhaji Mamman Shata Katsina, the reknowned Hausa music sensational song-bird would exactly be twenty-five (25) years in death, and having departed this scene long ago, one would mildly and pleasantly be surprised that he was a greater capacity of storage of Hausa language literature, hence a lot of information, data were spiraling, stocked in his albums. It was during his times that northern Nigerian Hausa artists played weak. The indomitable spirit that saw him triumphing was how he started from rural Hausa communities. In artistism, and during Shata’s times, artists were nearly reduced to one-man show. 
Then, in remembering his major accomplishments - in recent and far literature, Shata gave elephant, unwispy, monumental contributions to the exportation of Africas’ culture and humanism. And, even in the international arena, he stood to be the best Hausa performer. This is because, even the distant Hausa communities away from Nigeria, his birth country witnessed his many visits to their localities. Shata was in Ghana (no exception to Dahormey, Cotte de Voir, Ivory Coast) in 1951, 1952, 1954, 1957, 1959, 1962, 1973, the ones i can recollect. Niger Republic is like a second home. He was in USA and UK in May 1989, in France in 1995. His mystery, history and songs were used in Hausa language research in the 1950’s in some USA and Europe’s universities, say, Hamburg, Numburgh, and one other from Germany. Six (6) postgraduate students wrote their doctorate degree theses on Shata from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) the ones I can immediately remember, and many more. 
Paradoxically, he greeted General Yakubu Gawon, the then Head of State in 1972 in Kano, when the latter awarded him with plaque of best performing artist in wakokin noma, snowballing him to receive many awards thereafter, such as those of MON on 14/7/1977, PMAN in 1989,two others from FGN and Katsina State Government in 1990 and1991. His greatest feat was the honorary doctorate degree he received from the famous ABU Zaria on Saturday, 23/1/1988. 
One of Shata’s greatest success, I also gather, was Kano itself, which used to be a very large market in Africa. Kanawa catapulted, zoomed him to greater heights as he was heightened when he lived in the city – 1954 to 1959, thereon, from 1962 to 1999. Kano and Neja Club further broadened his horizons, and has it to say. 
Head-on, today, with no Shata, the era of having excitement of Hausa musicians performing physically is already gone, the era of having a space to perform has also shrinked. 
Let me attest that I am overwhelmed by nine (9) attributes, transplanted, or, attributable to him even when he is 24 years into death that is lacking in other world celebrities/singers: 

I repeat, he is still, undemurringly, a rare gem of humanity: It is memorably and clearly demarcated that even in death Shata was, and is still the greatest artist ever lived across the whole globe. There is no doubt about that, only that Hausa is a localized language. 
His good, crux, intellectual memorable albums define his pitch. He was a true and ideal definition of Hausa music/Africa’s culture. He was an epitome, emperor ruling over conquered global artists, and so he can hardly be forgotten. 
Heartbreakingly, he is still among the greatest artists with nation-wide/global-wide listeners and researchers that increase by day. His ever increasing listenership grow by day and that more albums/songs of his are everyday uncovered.
The number of his followers and listeners that pray for him do also increase by day. 
Severally, Shata’s immortalization is being podded, unlike other known artists that are now late. Their demise soon make them forgotten. 
The longer the time/period the more he is remembered even by younger generations.  
Up till today, his songs are used to complement eventful happenings in the country as aired in broadcast media houses. 
He predicted future happenings in his songs. 
The many social, economic, political, security and religious problems our canopy Nigerian nation is facing in this 21st Century were already prophesied and sung by Shata in his known enlightenment songs (wakokin siyasar Kasa/wakokin gargadi) many years back, especially during the Civil war periods (1967-1970) 

Yet, it is quit tragic, pathetic that Dr. Mamman Shata Katsina had not been honored as he deserved by governments and institutions. I recall, he was neglected through the following:  

As I write, many amateur, mumu, slapdash, shoddy, small time and scattered-dental-formula music artists across the globe were celebrated, immortalized by their authorities but the ineffable Dr. Shata was left wrying, unhonoured, unremembered by his Nigerian government. His death, till now is still unballyhooed, unfanfared. Still, I recollect, how far is his odyssey and image portrayed in the international scene, arena after 24 years of demise? Enough of the skewedness, the lop-sidedness. 

Katsina State successive governments too as mentioned, or any other institutions or bureau of learning. His legacies, birth-place, residence, peregrination need to be documented, conserved. 
For tourism or mannerism of research and history, authorities are still adamant in converting, transforming Shata’s house, birth place or otherwise so. 
Excruciatingly, UNESCO, a subsidiary of UN has not made the late hero a legacy worth documenting   

                                    From left: Aliyu Kankara with Emir of Hadejia, Alhaji Adamu Maje,
                                       March, 2017,   and, right: with Bawa Gilban Jibia, May, 2014. 
                                         
                     Dr. Shata and band at Gembu   (Mambilla), December, 1980. Far right is Mati Dan ‘Yarbaiye
                           
                      Left:  Kankara inspects a date palm planted by Dr. Shata in around 1932, in latters’ birth place, 
                            Musawa, 2014.   Right: Part of the house snapped in 2014 before it was further degraded.   

The Declarations: 

It is quite unarguable that the authorities must quickly fast-track things and look into the above mentioned four (4) items and do what is desirable to make Dr. Shata immortal, memorable. 
Because he was heterogeneous and transnational, UN must act fast to make him an international document. This is a consternation to UNESCO. 
A forum or Organization needs to be established on Shata, that which will arose, coax the attention of UNESCO to make headway in collecting and conserving his many legacies, authoritatively. The social media groups established for his sake shall be integrated into one single entity or umbrella in achieving the desired objective. 

Lastly, in continuance to be vanguard to Shata philosophies and legacies, I remain salute, loyal to ‘Na Izzatu mai benen bene’. May your soul rest in peace. 

Prof. Aliyu I. K. wrote from Katsina city, and is the author of Shata biography, Tuesday, 18/6/2024. aibrahim@fudutsinma.edu.ng/ialiyu260@gmail.com/ 
07030797630/08144196845.

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