The work is an imaginative work of art which tells the story of Umuga community. The community is a structured community which have representatives from different villages.
Umuga community heard a rich history, full of heroism these heroism can be seen in the lives of the leaders of the Oluada’s and Obuofo.
The work tells the story of the leaders of the invadement of the white to the land of Umuga and how the people especially the leaders of the clan fought to be alone by the white.
The arrival of Kosiri to the town of Umuaga brought about many disasters, due to the presence of Kosiri the Umuaga people decided to preserve their culture and leave a story for the younger ones to enjoy. They decided to have a memorable account of the live of the four main characters of Umuada which are Ejimnaka, Onyekozuru, Chieme, and Chibuka. The four women are chosen from the four villages of Umuga. The Oluada’s are the mouthpiece of the Umuada in Obuofo’s meeting; they say the women’s mind and bring back feedbacks to the women.
The interview on the life of the four Oluada’s went successfully and the Obuofo’s gathered and discussed on how to reach the Kosirs informing him to let the Umaga community be, they got a writer since they cannot write the whites man’s language and wrote to the Whiteman but the letter annoyed the Whiteman, his annoys was lead by the content of the letter, these made the Whiteman more upset with the people of Umuga.
The Obuofo’s thought of what to do, to calm the Whiteman don and let him know that they meant no harm rather all they wanted was to be left alone.
The Obufo’s got the information that the meddlers were trying to attack the town and the community prepared for war, they made arrangements for guns and consulted their neighbouring village for assistance. As the community prepare for war they balso made sure they settled the conflict between Abazu and onyekozuru, obiatu gave three of their member task to make peace between the two people, the peacemakers were Nwokike, Ofoka and Chieme.
As they were about to depart they got a message that the church and school building close to Aka hill had been set on fire by a group of people chanting for war, OBUOFO’S knew that the worst has happened because Kosiri and his people had gotten a better avenue to pose a war on them, the community prepared its young boys foe the war ahead, as they were prep[paring the war, something happened, it happened that Abuzu shoot Onyekozuru in her compound and the villagers left all the preparation at attend to the injured victim, they took Onyekozuru to a hospital at Awka after administering the local herbs and treatment.
After the incident Abuzu disappeared and the Umuada had a meeting separately and concluded on sitting on Abazu’s household until he returns from his hideout but when they got the news of the good health of Onyekaozuru they decided to withdraw their statement and wait for the judgment of the Obuofo’s and if their judgment is not pleasing to them, they will take a just course towards the incidence. Kosiri and his companions come on a chech on the burnt properties and also came for the arrest of Abuzu but found out that he was missing, thet decided to arrest the son Akobundu. It was later announced that Abazu committed succeed by drowning himself.
The people of Umuga refused to give in to Kosiri demand and that led to the war outbreak, Umuga people having prepared well for the war defended their people, the Umuada which are the OLUADA’S were assigned to prepare meals for the warriors and the sick and old ones in the community were sent were sent to a safe place, so as to be protected. The war lasted for seven months and Kosiri and his government worn but the Umuga people refused to accept defeat, when the Obufo’s saw the sufferings of their people in exile they decided to give in to Kosiri’s demand, Kosiri demanded that he would not meet with any of the core leaders of the Umuga rather he will meet with new leaders and also the Obofo’s should all be brought to Awka, he also asked them to surrender three hundred guns and a payment of a fine of one hundred and fifty pounds and more. The guns were burnt and four hundred men were persuaded to join the labour force and the other four hundred were conscripted by the government forces. The eleven men that were summoned never returned to Umuga. The meetings of the Umuda’s were restricted and it was not possible for the people to stay together and discuss their pains
Ejimnaka mourned the disappearance of her husband Obiatu and nothing around her interests her, she lived in silence till her last day. Ejimnaka was buried but there was no burial chant for her because the warrants chiefs instructed them not to the land.
Chieme and Chibuka have not folded their arms in the happenings of the land, they are ready to knit together the knot that holds the people together, they are determined to preserve their tradition.
Plot of the story
The novel is situated in an African. It tells us about Umuga community, how they made representatives of the four communities in the land both in the women and the men forum. The work is arranged in a sequential order in the sense that it started with the meeting of the oluada’s and their election of their election of their representatives from the scene it brought the readers to the meeting of the obuofo and it showed how the women and men in the four communities are represented. The interview of the oluada’s followed, they strted from the auto-biography of the head of the oluada’s which is Ejimnaka the wife of obiatu, after which onyekozuru, chieme, and Chibuaku were interviewed, these auto-biography of them were kept record in the community.
The preparation of war and the conflict between Onyekozuru and Abazu which lead to the attempted murder by Abazu and his commission of suicide, The burning of the church and school building in Umuuga by angry mob angered kosiri that he invaded the town with war and ended up defeating them. Kosiri in return for their surrounding requested for the arrest of the twelve elders and all these lead to the taking over the community by intruders which are warrant chiefs.
The culture of the Umuga became dead and the new tradition took over the community but some strong women still protected the culture of their people.
Setting of the work
The work is written in Africa, by an African author. It is a novel written during the pre-colonial era. The background of the Umuga community and the events of the novel is what happen in a typical Igbo land before the Whiteman invaded the community.
The language of the author is simple, in the sense that the reader will not be drawn aback by the vocabularies in the work, the author made it so easy for readers to assimilate what the work is talking about.
Theme in the Novel
Theme of marriage: the theme of marriage is seen in the novel; the Novelist tells us how the prominent women of Umuga community were married out to their different husbands. The novel tells us how a man marries in their town which is by hardwork, any man that is hardworking and has enough farmland and strength can choose any number of maidens as long as he is able to carter for them. It tells us how Ejimnaka met her husband obiatu after divorcing her first husband.
Theme of war: the Umuga people having failed to accept kosiri’s view went into war with the White men. The war lasted for seven months and it led to the destruction of many household in the community, the disappearance of twelve elders of the community, the arrival of the warrants chiefs, the subjection of the people into hard labour and the stop of the OLUADA and OBUOFO rule in the community. The war changed the way of life of the Umuga people.
Theme of culture and tradition: the culture and tradition is the dominate theme in the novel. The Novelist from the beginning of the work shows us the organization of the Umuga people, how they chose representatives to represent the four villages in the OBUFO meeting. It also showed us the marriage system in the community, it showed us judiciary act and these can be seen when onyekazuru and Abazu had a quarrel and three member of the OBUOFU were asked to preside over the case and settle it. It also showed us the role of women in the community. The novelist showed us unizim amongst the people, how they united and fought to protect their land.
Female role in the novel: the woman had a greater role in the novel, these can be seen from the beginning of the novel when the Oluada’s appointed prominent ladies to represent them, they went ahead to document their life history. The women played a very good role in their fight for justice, those can be seen when Abazu attempted murder, and they agreed to punish him accordingly if the Obuofo fail to do the right thing. The woman joined together in providing food for the warriors during the war.
Theme of enthronement: This theme is what changed the Umuga community. Kosiri and his men came into Umuga and changed their culture, they fought the Umuga people and took over their land, and they made rules for them to follow.
The five major characters of the Novel are:
The minor characters are:
The characterization of the characters
Obiatu: he is the leader of the Obuofo and the husband of Ejimnaka. He spent most of his life outside his village, when he returned he started tapping palm-wine and his strength and good looks brought him the admiration of So many maidens. He was made the leader of obuofo because of his commitment to his people and he led his people to a greater height. He did his work well both in his family and his community.
Ejimnaka: the leader of the Oluada. The wife of Obiatu she is a strong woman who is well committed by her work, she enjoys weaving baskets and that earns her money which she use in helping the husband. She was divorced by her first husband because she did not like to be controlled by people; she left the house when her husband Alagbogu refused to build a hut for her. She met Obiatu two years after leaving her first husband.
Onyekozuru: she is one of the leader of umuada and representatives of the Oluada. She was given out to marriage as second wife, she took care of her husband and co-wife as her own parents. When she lost her husband, she attempt for the umunna to make her re-married felled. Abazu visited her one night, asking her to be his bride and thereby revealing his secret to her but she refused to his request. She got interest in obiatu but later lost him to Ejimnaka. She led the woman so well and was committed to her task as Oluada.
Chime: she is one of the major characters of the novel, one of the leader of Oluada, chime been the third child of the mother and the first daughter of the family. She was married to Iwuchukwu, her marriage was not fruitful and was asked by her husband to leave the house, she went back to her father’s house. She became the best chanter after training under Nwakaku. She is one the leaders of umuada and a representatives of the Oluada in the Obuofo.
Chibuka: the wife of Iheme. One the leaders of umuada. She is well committed to the duties of Oluada. After the death of her husband, she contributed greatly to the development of Umuga. She is faithful even at the husband’s sick bed she still considered his excesses and took good care of him.
Abazu: he is one of the Obuofo and one of onyezouru’s kindred. He was the one that met onyezuru at mighty asking her to be his wife and revealing his secret of not been potent to her. He committed suicide after shooting Onyezuru for revealing his secret.
Kosiri: he was the Whiteman that brought about the outbreak of war in Umuga. He changed the tradition of the Umuga people and he subjected them to hard labor. Kosiri demanded for the twelve elders and that led to the disappearance of the elders.
Aziagba: the daughter in-law of Ejimnaka, she plays a great role in the novel, by assisting her mother in-law. She was of great help to Ejimnaka after the disappearance of the husband.
Literary techniques used in the novel
The author made use of flashback and these can be seen in the interview of the Oluada’s. They tell their stories remembering and bringing the reader’s back to what happened in the early stage of their life.
Proverbs: proverbs were used in the novel. These proverbs can be seen in many pages of the novel example when the novelist said “on the day of the hunt, we will stalk the grass cutter in its backyard” (pg214, chapter 14, Epilogue).
Symbols – land, the kosiri’s came to take over the land of the Umuga people and the people did not agree to that.