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Five Popular Kannywood Actresses Who Graced TV Screens in 2000s

The history of Nigeria’s northern film industry, Kannywood, cannot be complete without mentioning some of its old actresses who set the pace and served as…

The history of Nigeria’s northern film industry, Kannywood, cannot be complete without mentioning some of its old actresses who set the pace and served as role models for actresses who later joined the industry.

With limited resources, inadequate equipment and poor expertise in filmmaking that, then, characterised the industry, Daily Trust highlights some actresses that paved the way for what is now known as Kannywood. Here are some actresses that graced the television screen in the 2000s.


Fati Muhammad

The 39-year-old actress, whose parents are ethnic Fulani from Adamawa State, was born and brought up in Kano where she joined Kannywood at the teen age of 16 through the popular actor and filmmaker, Tahir Muhammad Fagge.

She recalls her first film being “Da Babu,” a movie that attracted the attention of other producers to her impressive acting skills, thus consequently getting her roles in the industry.

One of her oldest blockbusters that equals the actress’s favourite is the movie “Sangaya,” in which she acted the role of an orphaned, palace peasant girl caught up in the challenges of winning the love of a royal prince (Ali Nuhu) who’s desired by another princess (Hauwa Ali Dodo).

Fati was also the lead character in many other pace-setting Kannywood movies of the 2000s including Marainiya, Zarge, Tangarda, Tawakkali, Garwashi, Kudiri and Samodara.

She later got married to a co-actor, Sani Musa, better known as Sani Mai Iska, and they eventually moved to London to work for a Family Health Initiative (FHI) where she did awareness campaigns and TV commercials on AIDS and family planning for the organization.

Fati’s marriage with Mai Iska hit the rocks after five years. She returned to Nigeria upon the expiration of her contract with the FHI and rejoined Kannywood where she rang some bells in movies such as Tutar So, Babban Gari and Nagoma.

A few years after her return to the industry, Fati re-married; this time, to a filmmaker, Umaru Kanu, who’s an elder brother to the popular Kano-based singer, Ali Jita.

The marriage lasted for a few years before she joined Atiku Abubakar’s campaign team during the politician’s preparations for the 2019 general election, where she was seen participating in his political rallies, and social media campaign.

While she has no biological children of her own, Fati raises a boy she recently adopted and currently lives in Kano where she also runs her clothing business.


Abida Muhammad

Abida Muhammad, the charismatic and popular former actress in Kannywood, was Fati Muhammad’s contemporary and best friend, who was one of the viewers’ favourites during her stardom in the 2000s.

Born and raised in Kano, Abida joined Kannywood in the early 2000s and got enormous recognition for her outstanding role and dancing skills in the movie “Sangandale,” in which she acted alongside veteran actors, Ali Nuhu, (Late) Ahmad S. Nuhu and Fati Muhammad.


She was also in “Mujadala” (1 & 2) by FKD Production – a notably successful romantic story between six young men and women in thrilling love triangles, garnished with Bollywood-style music and dance, which are still sources of exciting nostalgia to many millennial film lovers in northern Nigeria.

She also recorded massive recognition in a number of movies including Badali, Kauna, Ukuba, and Furuci.

Abida quit acting upon getting married in the mid-2000s before her husband died and subsequently got a second marriage in 2018.

Since leaving the industry, Abida has never returned and was once reported to have said she has no interest in acting but in being a housewife and mother.


Hauwa Ali Dodo

Popular late actress, Hauwa Ali Dodo, also known as Biba or “Biba Problem”, was the character in one of Kannywood’s earliest, trendsetting films, Ki Yarda da Ni (which was an adaptation of a Hausa novella of the same name by northern Nigerian writer, Bilkisu Funtua) in the late 90s.

The actress was one of the most popular and well-spoken actresses in the history of the industry who had starred in many successful movies for over 20 years, including Sangaya, Zarge, Daskin Da Ridi, among others.

She died in a ghastly auto crash on her way to Kaduna from Jos, in 2010.


Rukayya Dawayya

The 37-year-old Kano-born Rukayya Umar, popularly known as Rukayya Dawayya, joined Kannywood at the age of 15 with the blockbuster, “Dawayya” in 2000.

Some of her notable movies include Gidauniya, Sarauniyar Kyau, Hajjaju, Kun Yi Sake, Ta Isa, Ta Fi Su, Halimatus Sadiya, Hawan Hawa, Zahra’u, Zato Ne, Nawwara, and Ummi Sambo.

She recalls acting in over 150 movies and has produced more than 20 films in her film company, Dawayya Movies.

Rukayya was nominated as Best Actress in the City People Entertainment Awards; Best Supporting Actress by the Kano Censorship Awards for her role in the movie titled Kadaura; Best Actress in the MTN Kannywood Award; and was a one-time ambassador for both MTN Nigeria and Starcomms Telecommunication.

She got married in 2013 and later got divorced after being blessed with a son. She lives in Kano where she runs her movie company among other businesses.


Balaraba Muhammad

In March 2002, one of the most loved and popular Hausa actresses, Balaraba Mohammed, died in a ghastly motor accident, a day after getting married to heart-throb and co-actor, Shuaibu Lawal, popularly known as Kumurci, a tragedy that shook the film industry and the viewing public.

Until her death, Balaraba Mohammed was a Kannywood superstar who had established her name within a few years in the industry with both her acting talent and striking beauty.

Her films include Maryam, Tawakkali, Furuci, Hali, Jaheed, So, Biyayya, Yakini, Tasiri, Miras, Burin-zuciya, Matausaya, Sarkakiya, Harsashe, Sababi, Fata-nagari, Kacibus, Nabila, Amalala, Buri and Qauli.

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