Hausa - Settlements

The Hausa classify their settlements as cities, towns, or hamlets. The cities have wards for foreigners, including Tuareg, Arabs, Nupe, Kanuri, and others. The capital cities are walled, and residents live in walled compounds with interior courtyards. Those of the well-to-do are whitewashed and decorated with plaster arabesques. The women's quarters are separate. Urban compounds may house sixty to a hundred persons. Although the Hausa accord urban living the most prestige, they are primarily rural. Each village contains a capital, as well as several hamlets; the capital is divided into wards, housing families of the same occupational group. Traditional village compounds are walled or fenced; materials range from baked clay to mud or cornstalks. Compounds characteristically contain an entrance hut, an open shared cooking and work area, a hut for the compound head, and separate huts for each of his wives. Newer housing is rectangular and concrete. The number of people living in a rural compound ranges from one to thirty, the average being ten.

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