Thursday, September 05, 2019

Stanhope-White's Dan Bana

I met retired District Officer, Sanhope-White at his home in North Yorkshire after I had read his books on Nigeria. His historical novel Descent from the Hills is a brilliant account of the history of Gwoza Hill people told through their eyes from the coming of the 19th century Germans to the second world war. Dan Bana is his autobiography and contains the famous vulture story.
   He was an ADO in Kano during WWII when he Americans were using Kano as a staging point for flights to the Pacific. He noticed the Kano market was getting dirty. It seemed there were few vultures cleaning up the rubbish. He made enquiries as to what had happened.
  It  seems the Kano butchers were used to the Europeans wanting turkeys for Christmas. They were surprised by a request from Americans for turkeys in November - Thanksgiving. So not to lose an opportunity for business, the butchers caught, killed and dressed vultures and sold them to unsuspecting Americans as turkeys. Most would have been flown out to the Pacific.

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