Recommended (Highly)

Category: Literature

Title: Death and the King’s Horseman

Sub categories: African literature, drama, theatre

Author: Wole Soyinka

About: District Officer Pilkings has a habit of sticking his nose in where it has no business, but then again so do most colonial masters. District Officer Pilkings, however, should know better than to stick his nose in the business of sacred traditional African rites. Customs demand that upon the death of Oba, the Horseman to the King must proudly end his earthly life and join his master in the life after. Elesin Oba is a proud man from a proud lineage who is unwavering in his belief and practice of his proud tradition. On what is to be his final day as a man Elesin Oba looks forward, with pride, to facing death. But District Officer Pilkings, he has a habit of sticking his nose in where it has no business.

Thoughts: from the legend himself, this play exudes grandeur from cover to cover (and even some classic cockiness in the foreword from the author). Endeavour to look beyond the obvious conflict and you will find a deeper core conflict that expresses the raging battles of man with man, life, death, culture, mysticism, and the beyond.

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