Light dims on Hajiya Hauwa Maina: Kannywood cross-over queen

Hajiya Hauwa Maina


The Nigerian motion picture industry was thrown into deep mourning last Wednesday as the news of the untimely death of popular Kannywood and Nollywood actress, producer and director, Hajiya Hauwa Maina, broke on social media.

Journalist and prominent member of the Kannywood industry, Al-Amin Ciroma, broke the news of the death of the actress on his facebook page. “Breaking…. Announcing the death of the popular Kannywood and Nollywood actor, producer/director, Hajiya Hauwa Maina. She dies this evening (May 2) at the Aminu Kano Hospital, Kano,” Al-Amin wrote.

In minutes, the post went viral, garnering over 322 shares, 280 comments and 295 likes. Tributes have continued to pour in for the actress of vast credit, who is regarded as one of those that made things happen in Kannywood.

A younger colleague, Ameena Badamasi, said the news was too hard to believe. “I don’t want to believe this ya Allah,” she wrote.Founder and President of the Abuja International Film Festival and former president of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Fidelis Duker, wrote on his Facebook page that it was shocking to hear that “the kind and gentle Hauwa” has passed on.

“Our condolences to her family, Kannywood and the entire Nollywood.” Clearly a notable and leading actress, Hauwa is one of the very few Kannywood actors who have successfully crossed over from just featuring in that part of the industry to taking up leading roles in Nollywood movies or those categorised as English movies.

Amiable, friendly and kind-hearted, Hauwa is reputed to have appeared in more English movies than any of her contemporaries in Kannywood, thereby setting apart, and has also conferred on her the status of the undisputable crossover queen.

Star of the epic movie, Queen Amina Zazzau, Hauwa was one of those who were not lucky to know quite early that she would grow up to become an actress. She had several career options opened to her whilst growing up. She wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer and at the same time, a broadcaster.

Buying and selling and interior decoration were also on her career wish list. But how she ended up as an actress and how she later transformed into a household name remains a part of her life story she alone can tell. Sadly, she is gone with that story.

Born in Kaduna State into a polygamous family, Hauwa was raised by her grandmother, who she credited for instilling in her virtues that has helped her in life. It was under grandma’s watch that Hauwa, whose father was married to three wives, had her early education.

Star of Yamtarawala, which tells the historical background of Biu Emirate in the old Borno Empire, Hauwa described her childhood as pleasant and memorable.She said in an earlier interview: “My childhood was pleasant and memorable and I had everything I wanted as a child and that is because I was loved and am still loved by everyone.“I was also considered the apple of my father’s eye. He was very fond of me and named me after my grandmother.”

Recipient of a number of industry awards, including the Savannah Industry Movie Awards, dubbed SIM awards, Hauwa joined Kannywood a little near two decades ago and it didn’t take long before she warmed her way into the hearts of moviegoers. In no time, she became synonymous with acting on television and in movies.

Critics observed that she was destined for the top so long as she remained focused, committed and worked with the right crew. She also worked hard enough and was modest enough to admit that persistence has been the key to her steady rise on the acting turf.It was also because she was persistent that she was able to grab roles in Nollywood movies. “They had this impression that we can only feature in Kannywood movies until I tried to get a role there and eventually got it and today, so many of us have appeared in a couple of Nollywood movies.

“We should do more work together. There should be no division.”An actress who was into buying and selling at the side and also into interior decoration, Hauwa, who is passionate about the promotion of indigenous movies, may have appeared in a couple of movies, but she picked her performance in the epic Queen Amina of Zazzau, directed by Salihu Mahmood and Nasir B. Muhammad, as her all-time memorable movie appearance.

Asked back then if she had any regret being an entertainer, Hauwa, who has been described by friends and colleagues as passionate, vibrant, loving, kind, generous and very accommodating, posted a ‘No’ as reply, adding: “I have no regrets at all. I am happy each time people tell me they learnt one or two things from our movies. Some even confess that it has helped to change the way they reason or see life.

“That is the reward for me and not how much I make or how popular I am. I am happy and I feel fulfilled once am able to affect lives or reach out to people positively. “So, I will keep doing this until I breathe my last,” she said. And that she did until death came calling last Wednesday, May 2.

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