Is ‘Gurara’ Indigenous to Southern Kaduna or Not?
By Philip Hayab
When Socrates stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” he was talking about questioning or examining the meaning of everything in life including names which Southern Kaduna ethnic groups and locations are named.
Accordingly, any time I hear a Southern Kaduna person saying ‘I am Kagoma,’ ‘I am Jaba,’ ‘Ninzam,’ ‘Kurama,’ ‘Marwa/Moro’a,’ ‘Kagoro,’ etc., I ask myself ‘what made us accept ‘alien’ names without challenging their origins, meanings, and implications?
Yes, we are humans and have the ability to question everything, therefore, we should. In fact, Socrates’ philosophy about examining/questioning ideas led me to carry out extensive research about such labels as ‘Gurara, ‘ ‘Kachia, ‘ Jaba,’ ‘Koro,’ ‘Surubu’ etc., from an angle of linguistics call ‘language and identity studies.’
Nowadays, aside from the Bajju & Adara who would readily, even in their sleep, call themselves by the appropriate names which their ancestors chose, the remaining SK ethnic groups still view themselves from the looking glass of the outsider.
Recording the power of naming, the Bible says that ‘whatever Adam called what was in the garden, that was its name’ and God gave Adam dominion over the Eden. The implication is that when we let alien namings of our people to remain, say Kaninkon instead of Nikyop, Ninzam instead of Ninzo, Koro rather than the Waci and Ashe, then we invariably hand over the ‘domination’ of our land to the one who so named it.
For those who have been following the false narratives about SK, one of the origins has a lot to do the name ‘Kataf’ and not Atyap, which is the indigenous name. Manifestly, from available records, many times, we accept notions without establishing their veracity as they relate to our land, future and origin.
From my findings so far, there is no one evidence linking the word ‘Gurara’ to any language in SK. What I can say at this moment is that the river called ‘Gurara’ is located in Niger State and not Kaduna. So, the way our people came about the name ‘Gurara’ has no roots in any language spoken by our people and exemplifies laziness in tracing our history and culture from our own perspective.
Let us, therefore, call for a conference of historiographers and individuals interested in defining an indigenous identity for us to search for a name that has an idea to do with the autochthonous people of the area now known as southern Kaduna.
Until we are able to establish something reasonable, let us not follow the confusing path which most of our elders who should have defined identity for us but sold us out, underrating the power in the names of our towns, Chiefdoms, individuals and, now, a proposed state.
I am Ham and the river which flows through Ham land is called Kap Ghet, not ‘Gurara.’ If anyone on this platform knows what the word ‘Gurara’ means in their language, let them come out and say it. The earlier we questioned this ‘Gurara’ idea, the better. Once bitten twice shy!