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Hausa Language Translators Wrestle with Censorship Board


In Nigeria, Hausa language translators and the Kano Censorship Board  are tied in a struggle over the rights to India-Hausa movies. The Board accused the translators as not having the copyright to allow them to translate the latest cinema from Bollywood.

What are India-Hausa movies?

Indian-Hausa or India-Hausa movies are a fascinating Nigerian product of necessity and innovation. More films to consume, being the necessity; creating a slick translation and voice-over solution being the innovation.

Film in Nigeria is a big business. People can’t get enough of it. “Nollywood” as it has become known, is a mega million dollar industry with a continent-wide audience. However, domestically it can’t satisfy everyone.

In the north of Nigeria, where people are Hausa, the demand for movies in their own language is naturally high. Local film making is known as “Kannywood”, i.e. from ‘Kanu’ the city.

Hausa speakers however have turned to Indian movies in their droves. These are brought from India, translated into Hausa, dubbed and then sold to the masses at prices sometimes 50% less than local DVDs.

Why the influx? Some suggest that the lack of quality out of Kannywood is to blame as the lack of ingenuity in Hausa film-making is becoming a turn-off. The lack of variety within local cinema and what you get out of India, where colour, glamour, sensual overloads rule, is beyond compare. People love the variety.  Genres such as sci-fi, horror, thriller, actions, etc are one reason why people go for India-Hausa movies.

In Kano it appears there is a stale mate whereby the Hausa translators maintain they have the right to translate the movies.  The Board on the other hand possibly saw an infringement on copyright laws. According to a piece on, “both parties revealed that the parties have held series of meetings with a view of finding lasting solutions to their differences. It was also…revealed that the initial feud was as a result of misunderstanding of the board’s intent on the copyright issue.” 


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