Literature of The Month | Sauna Jack

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Jifatu Department Store


It’s amazing and mind numbing at the same time the amount of folk lore Nigerian tribes have. In the same vein, just like the Onitsha Market Literature, different cultures have literature attributed to them. We’ll call them the lost art of cultural literature.

The scarcity of Hausa literature is unfortunately quite scary as it puts a damper on the development the language and the growth/development of Hausa children. I mean who doesn’t love to see literature in their language? Back in the day, children in the North and those who wanted to learn Hausa had the rare privilege of having these books and one of the popular ones went by the name ‘Sauna Jac‘.

Sauna Jac aimed to teach children responsibility through humor and is written in a satirical way.

The adventures of Sauna Jac follows a Hausa lad and his experiences as he starts his journey towards adulthood and adjusting to the modern realities of life. Sauna had dreams of becoming a clerk but unfortunately didn’t have the proper qualifications needed after primary school to get any ‘white collared’ job. He then becomes a ‘Jac’ of all trades in a bid to survive the realities of his time.

It shows how despite being a villager, he is able to travel, live in the city and gain a wealth of experience that helped him grow to be a better person despite what would have been termed a setback.

Though Jac is a simpleton, the writer also presents him as a complex, smart person who  is going through some changes. What makes this book amusing is that despite its approach, the end game is to encourage children to follow his footsteps by being hardworking as hard work will take you everywhere.

Sauna Jac is also written as simply as possible so children understand and is presented in comical strips to keep the attention of the reader.

This book used to be extremely popular among pupils and it’s no wonder why. Asides being excited at one of their own being depicted in books in their language, it also helped to show that no matter your background you could make it in life.

I for one think that Children’s literature is a fantastic way to encourage children to read more and therefore shouldn’t be thrown away or left to fade into oblivion.

Sauna Jac can be bought for N300 ($1.51) at local book sellers especially in the North. What children books do you remember that were educative and funny? Do you still have them and what are your thoughts on children literature?

Speak your piece in the comment section. x


Info for write up gotten from here.