From twelve noon to sunset during the dry season, and to an only slightly less extent during the rains, it is crowded with people. It is not merely full, as a rule it is packed.
And among the dense mass of humanity, in addition to the Hausa and Fulbe element which may be considered native, is represented almost every race and variety of men common to the Sudan.
Arabs from Mecca, Tripoli, Morocco and Fezzan ; swarthy Tuareck from the Desert ; broad-faced Mandingos and dark-skinned Kanuri ; natives of Wadai and Darfur, of Timbuctoo and Ilori ; Nyffawa and Yerabawa, white men and black, Mohammedan and pagan, bond and free.
I hardly like to say how many people collect daily on this market, but I was once present at an international football match which was said to have been witnessed by over thirty thousand spectators, and I do not find that it has left any greater impression of mass on my mind than has the multitude that I daily watched thronging the approaches and surging through the highways of Kano Market.
The bulk of the town of Kano is governed indirectly by the King or Emir, as we may choose to style him, through the person of a kind of chief magistrate called the Maji.
Like the important guild of the blacksmiths, however, the blind are not ruled by the Maji or his officers, but by a governor of their own who, through the vizier, is directly responsible for the maintenance of law and order to the king himself.
The sariki-n-maikafta (the governor of the blind) is a blind man himself, but that does not appear to prevent him keeping up a very considerable degree of state.
I have met him out riding, clad like a fancy fair, and accompanied by a retinue about eighty yards long. I gave him the royal salute Agai sheka Sariki ! And to the best of my recollection he inquired of those immediately about him why I did not get down from my horse as well.
The gentleman who filled the position of Sariki-n-maikafta at that time had no mean idea of the rights and privileges of his station.
T. J. Tonkin (Late Medical Officer and Naturalist to the Hausa Association’s Central Sudan Expedition)
The Commonwealth & Empire review - Vol V