Dorugu Kwage Adamu: Introduction




Mohammed Bashir Salau


Born in Damagaram in the Central Sudan, Dorugu Kwage Adam was captured in his homeland in 1839 and moved to Zinder, where a Kanuri merchant bought him. He subsequently passed through several owners before a German diplomat, Adolph Overweg, purchased his freedom in 1851 and named him Adam. Subsequently, Dorugu worked as the personal assistant to the German scholar, Heinrich Barth, in his official mission on behalf of the British Government to Borno, the Sokoto Caliphate and Timbuktu in the 1850s and returned with Barth to Germany and Britain. It was while he was in Europe that Dorugu dictated his memoirs as well as several stories and historical fragments in Hausa, which the Rev. J. F. Schön of the Church Missionary Society subsequently published in the Hausa original and in English translation as Magana Hausa in 1885 (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) and which was re-published by Charles H. Robinson, Lecturer in Hausa at Cambridge University, in 1906, but only the English translation, along with materials by Rev. C.J. John of Lokoja and materials collected by G.A. Krause in Tripoli in 1905. Dorugu returned to the Central Sudan in 1864 and died at Kano in 1912. Dorugu’s autobiography and the other materials that he dictated in Hausa provide unique material for the study of the Central Sudan in the nineteenth century.