A brief investigation into why Hausa sounds sexy on “Something Wicked”

Something Wicked

Midway through the 2016 thriller Something Wicked, the film’s matriarch Hauwa (Ireti Doyle) is having an altercation with her troublesome neighbour Clarice (Bisola Aiyeola) outside their plush Lekki compound. Clarice, notorious for parking her car in way that blocks Hauwa’s daily vehicular exit, is a classy, 20-something woman who would later be murdered by Hauwa’s evil, recently-orphaned nephew Abel.

Upon seeing that Clarice has blocked her again, Hauwa blasts her with corrosive Hausa so much so that Clarice is subdued into humility. Of all the scenes in which the Northern language glides off Hauwa’s tongue, the Hausa spoken in her confrontation with Clarice takes on a sleek, edgy aspect. Alternative translation: Hausa is inherently sexy. That aside, twelve years of living in the North, and presenting the Mnet Hausa-oriented show Turinginwa prepared Doyle to give one of the most language-bending performance of her film career.

“It’s a good thing Ireti Doyle is a natural, and manages to make most of the Hausa-speaking seem unintentional. We can’t say the same for others,” writes Zainab Sadiq in her review for TNS.ng. Though Something Wicked tries hard to convince us that Hauwa and her family are Hausa, the film plucks the language from the margins and gives it a kind of pop-cultural glaze (no offence to Kannywood).

Furthermore, Hausa, as the mother tongue of the Hausa tribe, is having a bit of a renaissance. The sixth season of MTV Shuga Naija had Hausa characters for the first time, Hadiza (Amal Umar) and Corper Yasmin (Rahama Sadau) speaking Hausa in a show steeped in urban English, and Hausa rap artistes like Morell and Kheengz are subverting the hip hop genre. If Yemi Morafa’s Something Wicked gets greenlit for a sequel, nothing should change in its tonal composition. In other words, Ireti Doyle can speak all the damn Hausa she wants.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail