How the Sha falls (“Farin Ruwa”) got their name

Have you ever seen the Sha falls, which are also called “Farin Ruwa“? Located at the southwestern escarpment of the Jos Plateau, it is a tourist attraction which some years ago even became a reason for dispute, as reported in a newspaper in 2003:

The dispute between the Plateau and Nasarawa states over the Sha falls, a tourist attraction, may not be over as Plateau State has described the recent award of the falls to Nasarawa State by the National Boundary Commission as unacceptable. Governor Joshua Dariye told journalists weekend that the decision of the commission was unacceptable as there was no doubt that the people inhabiting the area were Kulere people who are known indigenes of Plateau State. He said Nasarawa State merely capitalized on the neglect of the people of the area by previous Plateau governments by going there to provide some amenities for the people and thereafter, started laying claims to the area, especially the falls which it renamed Farin Ruwa.

In the following story, written by Mr. Mafulul Lek in 1992, a speaker of the Daffo dialect of Ron, we learn more about the history of the Sha falls, which are also referred to as “Munjai falls” — Munjai being a place in the Wamba LGA of Nasarawa State.

Manggorong a Munjai

A mbaahan halai kil mama si laal yo Manggorong ma Munjai ha? Yit mai, a but ham ti ɗer ma Yar la taa tambaash ma ramam ma Munjai, maɗor a Wamba, shinggil ti Akwanga. Yit mai Manggorong, mama si laal ti Mawulyang, si nii “Farin Ruwa”, ahun “Ham ma Shambaran”, ti fo mmican.

Ham tima mu madash taa a fa tambaashi, majik la a ndik, mma a shitai, ɗam ma mayor mai. Si nii, hami ti shambar la syak. Ɗes, a fa madash mama mu madash a fa tambaash ma Manggorongi yish, maɗor, ti dum mashura la fat ham mama mi maɓul. Kil mama ti jik la ti a ndiki, ti ɓulai kpandang ma hum ɗiin mai, mama ti hat tikil, ti ku ti tik a parakat la yo ɗer. Findelash si tof a hai ta Manggorong ma Munjayi fat wa’ ham nde ti tof a Tiryau. Hum mama hami ti ɓulai a ndiki, si nii, wur ti hural ti mgbang ti. Gip si nii, kil ma lwa’ ma mgbang mai. Masara a nii, kil ma zan mwan ma lantarki ma mgbang mai ɗes.

Naf ma maɗor a ne taa fit, fat Ɗafo, ka Sha, ka Tof, si saa taa Manggorong ma Munjayi mai. Mater ti masaa ti naf ma siw ti mgbang ti. Mater tima ti saa a manggorongi, mawan a Munjai, ti hyau kwa gbum gbum. Shak ta andai, naf kawa, fat Ɗafo, si fwaat hayash la ti a materi, mawan a mbar ma Munjai. Wa’ mbar ma hwayan shak, ɗiin si hyawis fat ma Munjayi kwa.

Ɗiin ɗamani, yit mai, Manggorong ma Munjai a munis re wa’ ɗam ma wuka ɗiin mai. Wa’ naafara mama a saahan taa Manggorong ma Munjai kwa, nafu ti mashir ti. Yo awei ti. Ti mandok ti, naf buu si haarai fo, mma si shitai ngga’ mama ham mu shambarat majik la a ndiki ta ti. Nai si niyis, wa’ shak naf ma siu mama si saa a materi si waai ti talal ɗiin, ahun canan si lyaaf ti, ɓa lwa’ ti Manggorongi ti faris mater, si saa ti cala. Gip ma naf ma siwi si nii, wa’ mma safat mai, aa gami, mma a saa taa Manggorong ma Munjai, a tik la cala, a ɗusai safati. Ɗam mama naf buu ndee si walai a mandek a hai nai. Naf mama si kpaa a mater ti Manggorong a Munjayi, si nii kek, si mun ma tyaak a laki kwa.

Wa’ nai naf ɓiil mama mi a ndik ma majik la ti Manggorongi si nggash findel ɗiin, si nii, wa’ Manggorongi lwa’ nzis ti. Wa’ sin mi, si cu, ahun mi hai ta cwai naf mama shak si kpaa a Manggorongi! A fa andai, si lef talal tima wa’ shak naf ma siw mama mi maɗor ahun maɗu Manggorongi, kpak si talis. Wa’ mma si talis, sin mi, si ku si ɗor, ahun si ɗu sis ti. Wa’ naaf mama a kwis ka talali, mma a saa a Manggorongi, a kpaa, a wal! Nai wa’ si furai ɗes kwaanai naf ma siw a Manggorongi, si hyaak, si harai ɗaam, ka cifi.

Nai Sha si halai andai, si nii, koong, ka ɗeng a faris ɗama ɗiin kwa. Si gaasai, si nii, mi yo ɗigir ma ho’an mi. Si nii, wa’ si cwaai lo ma ɗafal, ka ɗeng a tikis a tafonat fo kwa. Ahun wa’ naf si yu ti ɓur, si ndek ɗamanashi la gbum – masut ma fwash mai.

Wa’ naf mama mi a ndik ma majik la taa Munjayi si fut ka sin Munjai, a hai a yis, ka Masinggar, ka Yiw, ka Mama, ka Marahai, ka Kamtu. Nai wa’ nafi si halai andai, si shiɗet rwak-rwak, wa’ si lak ɗama ɗiin andai kwa gbum. Si ji ligit, hai ti rami. Si niyis Sha, ɓa si yu a sho ligiti. Ɓa si saa ti a materi, si shitai sutet tima wa’ naf miis a tot hai a hai ta Manggorong ma Munjayi. Wa’ Sha nai si nii hir, si fwaar maɗor mawan a sho ligit ti a Ne sai.

Taa, fe ma naf si ji ligiti ti ji Sha la ti! Nai Sha si pak la, si jakai a ndik, si harai ligit ti a tutwai. Si sho, si fil, si lang a jik, sin a taraf. Si cu rom, si cu hwer. Si mun a ndur dori, si lul ti dor, si niyis Sha: “Mimai ndiya hu lak-a? Hu nii, ni cwaai naf, naa yo ɗigir mi, ahun mi haang? Nai hu yes a ndek nin la ndai gbum ka masuti, ahun hu yes ami? Ahun hu sho ligit ti manzonet ti, hu ku hu lak findel sai, a Sha?” Si cu a fo, si niyis: “A Sha, hu tik a lak findel sai, ni halai dong!” Kil ti nin wutirish — Sha si nii mgbi’ ti tutok! Si nii: “Ca mawalan. Naf kyani si ji can la ti, ɓa si cu can a wur. Ca kpaa.”

Nai sin maɗu Manggorongi ti a filal kil, mma ɓwe ti furet. Si kir ngash-ngash-ngash maɗu. Kambet kyai si nii: “Haang, sin na kong, hu nggarai, si yu.” Taa, kwai fe ma naf si walan a wom vwash mmis ti a Manggorong. Nai Sha si lang a rwaakan a hai. Si ɓaak hayash la, si mwaat sololol. A fa filali, gip si dash yishash la ti a fa hayai, wash si shar a ndik.

Tahun ti le’ la kong, kambet si shitai Sha a ndik mbolosh, si nii hya’ – ɓa hu tyaak! Si tikai ligit nzis hai, si sho, sin a nahwai ti Sha. Si gaasai, si nii, halyang ma ɗaam ma gbwya’ ɓiil! Mama si pwet a ra si yes ti shaati a wur, si nii, Sha si mawal. Si lulis, a hai ta mi? Si nii, wa’ naf mama si lal sis ti ligit kyai mi, si masirai sis hai, ɓa si cu sis a wur. Nai wa’ si nii, mi maɗu manggorong ma Munjayi, taa, nafi si shwan vwash ti a manggorongi. Nai wa’ si fut ka filal ti ligiti, si rwaak a hai, si fwaar, si taar, si ɓaak hayash la, si mwaat.

Nai Sha si har pis, si shu. Naf ma mater ma Sha ti a kikyali si nii, wa’ ndee si shwai vwash mai ti a manggorongi kek kwa. Wa’ ndee si wal a fil la ti ligiti, nai si langai hai, si walai a dashi, si hyaak. Sin nafi, si nii gbum, andai ti kwa! Ɗes, wa’ gbum ndee si shwis vwash ɗiin ti a mater kwa. Wa’ Sha ndee si fil ti ligit ti kek, nai si furis gam mbayat. Taa tei nai, si nii mgbi’ mawis a wur ti tutok. Wa’ naf mama si lal sis ti ligiti mi yo ɗigir mi, mi wan a makon a cwai sisi ti fulul. Nai si nii, mi makon a maɗu Manggorongi ti filal, kporok ma fulul, si fwaar, si ɓaak hayash la, si mwaat.

Mayes a kwai hani, Sha si nyaai findel ma mandek nzis sai a manggorong ma Munjayi a ma kwa. Ɗafo mi ɗes, si wu ndurum ti ɗaman ma mandek ti Sha a Manggorong a Munjayi. Mma sin a ndaret a sisal, ahun a gaasai Shahi, si nyaahis: “A sa’! Mma hu nii, hwaa yo halyang mi awei kwa, mimai ndee a kir, hu sho ligit tindai, hu yu a Manggorong a Munjai, hwaa hyaa’ gbob-gbu-gbob, hayash si dyaash? Ahun mma naf kyai mi, ndee si wu hun shengat ti kwa, mimai a kir, mayes a kwai, hu mba wer ɗam mama ndee si masuhai sai wet?” Si niyis, wa’ nan sin mi, ndee si yu a cwai naf kyai ti ɗigirat, nai ti le’is la a manggorong ma Munjai, si kat ti rihip. A shamgbareng, mma si mun a wan a rwai Sha ti jam, nai si shiɗet, wa’ mandek ti Sha a Manggorong ma Munjai. Kwash nai wa’ si manis Sha awei, si ndus a tyaakan ti ɗamani tikil, naf si maɗuk a sisali, fifaɗe si manis.

Findel a nii, sin Sha a hai a yis, gipi mi yo nyaas mi si naf mama ndee si lal sis ti ligiti. Wa’ mi yo masut ma ɗanggat mi si naf kyai.

Manggorong ma Munjayi a hai a yis kil mai mama sum nzis ti ho, ti yu a nggaas kwa. A kwai hani, naf taa ramam ka Masaraashi si yaas a shitai kili, si tek foto ahun shilimi. Ɗes, amwash ram ma hai ta ɓulai mater ti mutika taa Sha, ɓa ti ɓul la a shinggil tima ndee Sha si yu a sho ligiti. Wa’ a fa mandek ti Sha a Manggorongi a kwai si laal sis yo Manggorong ma Sha, si tyaak a nii Manggorong a Munjai kwa.

The Sha falls or the fall of Sha?

Did you ever hear about the Munjai falls? It is there that the water of the river Yar falls down from the Munjai hills, flowing on to Wamba, in Akwanga L.G.A. This fall is called “Farin Ruwa” in Hausa, which means “White water”.

The water falling down from the hills and splashing up at the ground is a great spectacle. It is said to rise in big clouds. The water falling down from the hills is steaming as if it was boiling. After touching the ground, the water enters into a big cave and comes out from another place again as a river. There are many stories told about the Munjai falls, e.g. that the water gathers at Tiryau (a mythical meeting place of all the water). The cave into which the water enters is said to be the house of a mighty water-spirit. Others say that a powerful Lwa’ (Alter Ego) resides there. According to the white-men it is also a good place for winning hydro-electric power.

People from Daffo, Sha and Tof, going down to the lowlands have to pass the Munjai falls. It is an important trading route. The road passing the falls on the way to Munjai isn’t good at all. Nevertheless many people like the Daffo dare to take it to buy oil at Munjai. The oil of Munjai is said to be the best oil in the whole area.

To men, the Munjai falls are also a way to show their courage. A man how doesn’t dare to pass the Munjai falls is said to be a coward. And indeed, it is true. Many a man on reaching the place and seeing the steaming water has turned back in fear. Formerly, all the traders who wanted to pass there used to take along a sacrifice for the Lwa’ of the fall to get permission to pass. There is a belief among the traders that if a person is seeking wealth and passes the Munjai falls, he will certainly get it. But many who have taken this way have perished on it. The number of people who have lost their lives is impossible to tell.

The people living beneath the Munjai falls started to claim that it is their second self. That it was them who killed and still kill the people who perish at the falls. The fixed a fee which every trader who wanted to go down or up past the falls had to pay. Only those who paid it were allowed to go down or climb up. Every person who refused to pay the fee would perish on passing the falls. But indeed it was them who would ambush the traders passing the falls, kill them and take away their goods and money.

When the Sha people heard this they said that no-one should pay the fee anymore. They abused the Munjai people, saying that they were great evildoers. They said that the Munjai people ate human flesh and that no-one should have contact with them anymore. That people should fight against them and do away with those bandits.

Then the people living at the bottom of the Munjai falls joined with the Munjai, the Masingar, the Yiw, the Mama, the Marhai and the Kamtu people. They prepared local beer all over their country. They invited the Sha people to a beer drinking party. They should come and see for themselves that those stories about the Munjai falls were not true. The Sha people rushed down to the lowlands for the beer.

However, those people had prepared the beer as a trap for the Sha people. The Sha people came and drank a lot of beer. They got drunk and started dancing and falling about. Their hosts put on their war dresses. Then they started singing a song, asking the Sha people: “So you say we have eaten people, we are devils, or what? Now you have come to do away with us, have you? Or were you drunk when you said that?” The challenged the Sha to repeat what they had earlier said. The Sha people became very afraid and started running away. They said: “These people want to kill us. We are lost!”

They started climbing the hills in their drunken state, when the sun had already set. While climbing, they kept falling. Their hosts shouted: “See them there, let’s chase them.” They had earlier put a slippery matter on the way. Now the Sha people began to glide on it. They broke their heads and died in great numbers. Due to drunkenness, many fell down on the rocks and their blood was pouring to the ground.

When the sun rose the following day, the hosts saw the Sha people lying dead on the ground and were very contented. They continued with their drinking party and sang a song about their victory over the Sha people. They abused them, calling them stupid and fools. Those few who could escape came to Sha mourning and said: “this is the end of Sha”. People asked them why. They told them that the people who had invited them had wanted to kill them in cold blood. That they had wanted to climb the hills, but the people had put a slippery matter. That this combined with their being drunk had made them fall down, break their bones and heads and that many had died.

Then the Sha people put on their mourning shrouds. The Sha spies claimed that those people had not only put the slippery matter on the way. That they had actually made them drunk and then turned on them and beaten them to death. But those people denied the charges. They also denied having put a slippery matter on the path. They claimed that it had been the Sha people who, after getting drunk, had looked for trouble. They had said that they were devils and that they would finish them this very night. But then suddenly they had started to run away. Then, climbing the hills in the middle of the night, being drunk, of course they had fallen down and broken their necks.

Until now, the Sha people haven’t forgotten how they perished at the Munjai falls. The Daffo people like to tease the Sha people by reminding them of that story. They use to tell the Sha people: “Hey you, you must have been fools to go to that drinking party and climb the hills being drunk. If those people are not as strong as you, how is it that up to now you haven’t taken revenge?” They tell them that perhaps it was them who used to kill people on the way until finally they got punished at the Munjai falls. In a very rude manner, they even swear “by the fall of the Sha people”. Then the Sha people become very angry and tell the whole story all over again and people laugh even more.

Allegedly, the Sha themselves are partly related to those people who invited them to the drinking party.They are said to have a common origin.

The Munjai fall is a place that has now become very famous. Nowadays, people like to go there and take pictures. The Federal Government is even planning to build a road from Sha down to the place where they went for the beer. Allegedly, due to the perishing of the Sha at the falls, the falls are now no longer called Munjai falls, but Sha falls.

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