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Kannywood stars as divorcees

When celebrated Kannywood star, Fati Mohammed, married Sani Musa Mai Iska several years ago, most fans thought it was the end of an illustrious acting…

When celebrated Kannywood star, Fati Mohammed, married Sani Musa Mai Iska several years ago, most fans thought it was the end of an illustrious acting career. The custom in the industry is that marriage for a female star is an automatic resignation from the silver screen. But not long after, the film star’s marriage collapsed and she returned to the folds of veteran divorcees that grace the Kannywood set scene.

Her story is not unique. All the women who strut their stuff in the Hausa film industry are unmarried. Some have never married before, the others are divorcees. The few who manage to get married sooner or later end up in divorce cases splashed on TV screens and newspaper pages;  all but a few. This fact has given the industry an unwholesome reputation among observers.

In Hausa land, marriage plays a very important role. Often, a woman’s societal standing is determined by her marital status. But the coming on stream of the Hausa movie industry in the late 1990s was accompanied by name callings and negative views. Most of the female stars are seen as loose women or women of questionable virtues because of their marital status. The recent marital woes of former actress Hafsat Shehu have furthered the notion that these women simply cannot stay married.

Some of these women have had their marriages dissolved before the advent of the industry. The likes of Amina Garba, Zainab Booth and Saratu Gidado (Daso) among others, fall within this group of veteran divorcees. But more worrying perhaps is the high number of those who made fame in the industry, got married and returned after the failure of their marriages. Some of them include the likes of Fati Mohammed, Hadiza Kabara, and Aina’u Ade.

But what seems to be the cause of this phenomenon?

For veteran filmmaker, Ibrahim Mandawari, failed marriages are not exclusive to Kannywood.  “Honestly, I don’t think frequent divorce is peculiar to film actresses only. I see it more as a societal problem even though I am not a researcher who has worked in that area.”

But for Sadiya Ibrahim, a keen follower of the industry, Kannywood plays a major role in the failure of its women stars to keep a successful home.

“These actresses find it very difficult to cope with staying back in the house as housewives because they are used to a free life and also, the absence of the fame, that sense of belonging they get from the crowd and comments they get from fans is also hard to overcome,” Sadiya said.

She also believes there is an element of misperception involved. People fall in love with the screen images of these stars and forget they are only humans after all.

“The husbands see and admire them based on how they are seen on screens or for the fame they have acquired over a certain period they have been in the industry and it is only when they come to live together as husbands and wives that their true colours manifest.  Therefore, it is when these hidden habits manifest that both parties realize they can’t continue,” she concluded.

Another follower of the industry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agrees in part with Sadiya’s view.

“What happens in most cases is that the ghost of fame and income they make in films haunts them even after they are married and therefore, they find it very difficult to cope with the demands of the marriage institution which they feel jeopardizes their freedom,” he said.

Whether these perceptions are right or wrong, the high number of divorcees in the industry will always remain a subject of discussion.

In-house Marriages, In-house Divorces

Some of the actresses in the industry have found love in-house. They decide to marry fellow actors. Such marriages are usually huge events, widely celebrated by both families and fans of the couples. In most cases, video CDs of this marriages are put on sale for teeming fans to purchase and view at pleasure, some even have their own specially made theme songs. But most of these celebrity marriages end up in celebrity divorces.

One of such cases involved Hadiza Kabara, star of Dijangla. She married Kannywood director Mohammed Garba Kabara. The celebrity marriage was short-lived and ended after just one issue. The actress returned to the screen soon after, saying it was what she knew how to do best.

There was also the case of Maryam Umar Aliyu and Shuaibu Lawal Kumurci. Their marriage was also short lived and the actress has since tied the knot with yet another Kannywood star, Musbahu Ahmed.

The latest saga in the many Kannywood divorce stories involves actress Hafsat Shehu who said she is no longer interested in her second marriage despite insistence from her husband’s side that the marriage is still intact.

Despite the long list of unpleasant cases, there has been a notable exception. The much celebrated marriage of popular stars Sani Danja and Mansura Isa is still intact despite earlier rumours of a separation. The couple have come out to deny such rumours and the acting family is blessed with a beautiful daughter. It is only hoped that they will continue to keep alive the faint notion that happy marriages can indeed be made in Kannywood, off the sets.

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