Hausa is a member of the Afroasiatic language family and is the most widely spoken language within the Chadic branch of that family. It is the largest ethnic group in West and Central Africa.
“In Nigeria, native Hausa speakers exceed 70 million and non-native speakers who use Hausa as a second language are likely to be between 40 and 50 million on a conservative estimate”, according to a communique issued by the Department of African Languages and Cultures, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria - Nigeria.
However, in West Africa, English is the primary language of many countries, including; Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana. Therefore, most media use the English language for communication thereby creating a gap between persons who do not understand it. For the sake of this article, the focus is on Hausa language speakers.
In 2014, BBC launched a Hausa TV programme as part of efforts to bridge the communication gap. Prior to BBC, the Voice of America has also been running a Hausa broadcast arm since 1979. Amongst other local and international media outlets.
Amidst these efforts, the growth of the tech ecosystem in Nigeria and the rest of Africa further created a communication gap for Hausa speakers who predominantly reside in Nigeria’s emerging tech ecosystem.
To provide news and insights to Hausa readers as to what is going on in Africa’s tech ecosystem Munnir Abdulhamid, a writer and an android developer based in Northern Nigeria launched Tech Hausa, a tech news blog covering Africa in Hausa language.
Munnir is a HND student at the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi in Northeastern Nigeria, he is also the organizer of Google Developers Group, Yola (GDG Yola).
According to him, most young people in Northern Nigeria lack access to several opportunities in the ecosystem due to the “lack of exposure” to tech happenings on the continent.
Which is why he started the blog, but what led to it? I had a conversation with him about his journey to starting a Hausa tech blog, the successes and the challenges so far.
What inspired you to start Tech Hausa?
In April 2017, I came across an announcement about "Techpoint Inspired 1.0" on my social media feed, I decided to travel from Yola to Lagos for the event. While at the programme in May 1027, I was amazed and excited by the way the tech ecosystem was reflected in the conversation. On the other hand, I was sad that such wonderful development is absent in my community.
I made up my mind to initiate a platform similar to Techpoint that will target the Hausa speaking population. Upon my arrival, I started the initiative with a Facebook page. I will say that Techpoint, the gap between Hausa speaking population and what’s going on in the tech ecosystem inspired me to start TechHausa. In 2019, I bought the domain name. We also have a YouTube channel and a podcast providing information in the Hausa language.
Growth and Challenges…
Since its inception, TechHausa has attracted many tech-loving Hausa readers. “They see it as an opportunity to be involved in the ecosystem. We have over 700 visitors to the blog every month. I will say the response from Hausa readers is tremendous.”
Munnir currently translates press releases that are written in English to Hausa language without an AI tool. He said, “using an AI tool will give a direct translation which will alter the exact meaning of the message.”
The blog is currently been bootstrapped. Munnir lamented the lack of support by tech companies in the region. However, he said his passion to provide insights to Hausa readers fuels his consistency.
The way forward…
Going forward, Tech Hausa will focus on documenting the stories of tech talents and startups in Northern Nigeria. The team also intends to host tech events that will further draw awareness in the community. While sourcing partnerships that will enable the media outlet to thrive.