Ikemefuna originated from the village of Mbaino, but that was not his true home. He was 15 when he, along with a virgin girl from his first home, were taken in exchange for peace with the Mbaino village after they murdered one of our women. In the three years that he was with us, he had grown to become part of our community, joining the famous warrior Okonkwo’s family, where he and the eldest son, Nwoye, became inseparable. He was hard working and devoted to his adopted village, working hard with Okonkwo and Nwoye on the yam harvest. It is just hard to believe that such a promising member of our village would anger the gods.
Last market week, the village elders talked to the Oracle, who declared that the Earth god wanted Ikemefuna to be killed. Ikemefuna, who had worked so hard and whose new father had become fiercely proud of, was to be killed just outside of our village. Okonkwo, whom Ikemefuna had called his father, led a group of men out of Umoufia and down a deserted trail. Under the false pretense that he was going home, Ikemefuna followed the men and his father without question. Once they were a good distance from the village, they drew their machetes and struck him once. The strong boy that he was, he survived the first strike and called out for his father. Little did he know that Okonkwo would be the one to strike the finishing blow.
Talking to Okonkwo’s wives, I have discovered that this brutal act did not come without its consequences. Okonkwo did not eat for two days and did not sleep for many more. With no work to do after the harvest, Okonkwo did nothing but sit in his hut and drink, no doubt Okonkwo’s attempt to forget his actions. Not two harvest weeks before, Okonkwo, Nwoye and Ikemefuna had been happily at work, repairing their barn by re-thatching the roof and repairing the walls. A neighbor, the ozo Obierika, had something to say about Okonkwo’s actions:
“Okonkwo obeyed the gods, killing his most hard working and strong son, but he shouldn’t have killed the boy himself. This type of cruel action is likely to bring severe repercussions from the gods that may kill Okonkwo, his family or even the entire village.”
Nwoye, Okonkwo’s eldest son and Ikemefuna’s closest brother, was destroyed by this recent turn of events, claiming that he “knew what was happening, but could do nothing to stop it”. Nwoye and Ikemefuna could be seen every day strolling the back paths around our village or working hard at tasks that Nwoye had refused to do only a few short years earlier. Indeed, Ikemefuna seemed to bring Nwoye alive, teaching him to work hard and be a man. Without Ikemefuna, Nwoye will never be the same.