My name is Idris Hamza Yana. I was born in Yana, Bauchi state in the Muslim-dominated northern part of Nigeria. Some people get confused because my surname is the same with my hometown. Well, that is part of the colonial legacy we inherited whereby children enrolled in a centralised school, from different parts of a locality, were named with their villages for easy identification. I am Fulani by tribe. Fulani people constitute one of the largest (if not the largest) tribes in west and central Africa. They are commonly found in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Senegal, The Gambia and Togo. I speak Hausa and understand Fulfulde (also called Fula). As a child, I used to attend primary and Islamic schools on weekdays and shepherd goats on weekends. There are three different seasons in where I grew up: rainy, hot and harmattan. Rainy season lasts for about five months. Then harmattan will gradually creep in with its stinging cold and dusty air. The temperature sometimes drops to less than ten degrees Hot season precedes rainy season and it’s the time when farmers begin preparation. Sometimes the temperature reaches up to forty-five degrees during hot season. I am currently doing my PhD in the Department of English, University of Exeter. The focus of my research is the place and involvement of women in pre- and post-independence Kenyan politics. My interest is on the participation of women in the social, political, cultural and economic spheres of the society.


Son of Essence

I am a son

Of essence and substance

Dweller of the Sahel

Canvasser of the Sahara

Climber of the Mountains

Explorer of the Rivers


I am a son

Of winds and hurricanes

Of dews and dusts

Of mists and fogs

Of sweats and tears

Of laughters and cheers


I am a son

To Adamu and Adama

To Shaka and Sundiata

To Jaja and Fodio

To Mumbi and Gikonyo

To Amina and Opemsoo


I am a son

Of a man

And a woman

A human

So real

So dark

I am a son of essence

©Idris Yana