Book Synopsis

Hausa Blues is the memoir of Zenab Ibrahim, a young woman born to a wealthy Hausa tribesman in the remote village of Yoko, Africa. When at the age of 12, Zenab’s father expels his first wife from the family’s tribal compound, Zenab resolves to avoid the spiritual death that defeated her mother and her father’s other wives by boldly striving to experience an exclusive love and a modern, free life—like the neighboring Christian tribes and Western women who captivate her on the village’s only television set. She dreams of a mutually respectful marriage, and when she learns at the age of 16 of her arranged marriage to a Hausa man who wears blue jeans and studied in Europe, she is hopeful that her role might veer off the traditional path of a submissive, servile Muslim wife.

But when their wedding is postponed due to a serious car accident, it’s the beginning of a series of events that cause her to believe her sisters were right all along—her life is cursed. Zenab’s naïve hopes for a transcendent love and free lifestyle begin to unravel when she discovers that her husband adheres to traditional roles and treats her like a contemptible servant, as does his mother. Although bad fortune repeatedly thwarts Zenab’s vision for her life, serendipity intervenes when she crosses paths with a night manager at her local bus station—a man from a scorned Christian tribe. This forbidden friendship empowers her to risk everything for the chance to realize her dream, igniting Zenab’s faith in both herself and others. It leads to her escape from the bondage of her marriage and to her discovery of a true and pure love that is more life-affirming than anything Zenab ever dared to hope for.

About Author

Hausa Blues is Zenab Ibrahim’s life story as it spans two decades of transformation. Along this journey, she inspires others with the dramatic reinvention of her life. When restricted by controlling influences of power established by her culture and religion, she proves personal disempowerment only persists so long as people believe in it. Zenab is a Registered Nurse currently residing in Washington, D.C. with her loving husband, Etcheu, and their three sons.

About Writer

Shelah L. Maul is a Speech/Language Pathologist who works with children in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She has dedicated her life to helping others experience meaningful communication through the expression of words. So the first time she heard Zenab share stories about her life in Africa, it happened naturally that a partnership formed between them. Zenab has a triumphant story to tell and Shelah is honored to be able to offer her the tools needed to express it. Shelah writes for SASS magazine, blogs about spirituality, growth, relationships, and culture and leads workshops and spiritual growth tribes focused on overcoming obstacles to self-empowerment. She lives in Frederick, Maryland with her husband, Brian, and their two rescue dogs Basil and Bailey.