Hajia Gambo Sawaba (15 February 1933 – October 2001) was a Nigerian women’s rights activist, politician and philanthropist.
Hajia Sawaba was born to Isa Amartey Amarteifio (christened Theophilus Wilcox) who was an immigrant from Ghana and Fatima Amarteifio a Nupe woman from Avun Local Government, Niger State.
She was named in accordance with the Hausa naming custom, any child born after the birth of twins was called Gambo, hence the name Hajaratu Gambo.
She had to stop schooling after the loss of her father in 1943 who dies complaining of headache and her mother 3 years after. She was married off at age 13 to a World War II veteran Abubakar Garba Bello who left and never returned after her first pregnancy. Quite noticeable about her when she was a child, was her unusual interest in mad people. She spoke with them, accommodated some and gave the ones she could money, clothes and food. As a child she was often described as stubborn and heady and almost always got into street brawls. According to her “I could not stand by to watch a weak friend or relation being molested.” She said used to take over such fights. Whenever she got to the scenes of such fights, she would immediately say “OK, I have bought the fight from you” to the weaker person and take over the fight.
She was a campaigner against under-aged marriages, forced labour and an advocate for western education in the north. Gambo made a name for herself when at a political lecture during her career in the North, she climbed up and spoke out in a room full of men. She was mentored by Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and traveled to meet her in Abeokuta years later. She is widely regarded as the pioneer of fighting for the liberation of northern women.
A general hospital was named after her in Kaduna.