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Transvestite trial the talk of Nigeria

Posted by By Amina Waziri BBC correspondent in Kano on 2004/09/02 | Views: 1460 |

Transvestite trial the talk of Nigeria


A transvestite faces trial in September in a case which has become a big talking point in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

A transvestite faces trial in September in a case which has become a big
talking point in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.
Abubakar Hamza has become a big celebrity in northern Nigeria

The issue of s-xual orientation is a controversial one in Africa and the
existence of transvestites usually gets little attention.
But 19-year-old Abubakar Hamza has become famous with posters of him dressed
in women's clothes selling well among male admirers.
He is charged with living and dressing as a woman in the first case of its
kind in this conservative city.
But what is shocking for many Nigerians is that he lived as a young woman in
the heart of a family for seven years, without his secret being suspected.

Betrayal

The Adamu family, who have now themselves become celebrities in Kano, were
shocked when they discovered Hamza was a transvestite.
Until his arrest they fondly called him Kawajo which in the Fulani language
means friend.
The mother, Hajiya, says she treated him like her own teenage daughters.

"In fact whenever they quarrelled I always took his side because I never
liked seeing him upset. I was so fond of him he was just like a daughter,"
she says.

During his stay with the family, Hamza spent a lot of time with her teenage
daughters but they did not suspect he was not a girl, despite the fact that
he always dressed and undressed in the bathroom.
"He never allowed people to touch him in a playful manner," says teenager
Umma.

Alhaji Adamu, whom I met sitting in front of his house, told me that even
though Hamza had not engaged in any indecent behaviour he still deserved to
be punished "because he had broken Islamic laws".
Abubakar Hamza is currently in Kano Central Prison awaiting trial where he
will answer charges under Section 9 of the Prostitution and Immoral Acts
Law.

If he is found guilty he will get either one year in prison or be asked to
pay a fine equivalent to $80.
Many in Kano are talking about this story and are eagerly awaiting for the
trial due on 16 September - if only to get a glimpse of the famous young
transvestite.

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